1,500 people joined celebrations of the People's Cordillera Day in Kalinga

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Cordillera people and visitors celebrated the 40th People’s Cordillera Day for two days in Barangay Tanglag, Lubuagan, Kalinga last April 23-24. An estimated 1,500 people joined the gathering which was launched in one place following five years of decentralized celebrations. They were united in the theme “Courageously advance the struggle for land, dignity, and life.”

The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) organizes the annual People’s Cordillera Day celebration. The CPA declares this every April 24 as a commemoration of the day of heroism of Macli-ing Dulag, leader of the Butbut tribe who led the Cordillera’s struggle against the disastrous Chico Dam during the Marcos dictatorship, and was assassinated by the armed agents of the Marcos Sr. dictatorship in 1980.

Before the actual celebration, activities and gatherings were held in Hawaii, Metro Manila, Baguio City, and Kalinga. These included bike runs, collective studies and discussions, cultural programs, and medical and dental missions led by CPA partner organizations.

In the unified celebration, all the tribes of the Cordillera reaffirmed their unity to defend their ancestral land and right to self-determination. They performed songs, slogans, dances and poetry in celebration. Attendees also united in a declaration against the US-Marcos regime’s plunder and state terrorism.

Meanwhile, the CPA denounced the relentless harassment and repression they suffered at the hands of state forces while launching their activities. The group says the Marcos regime tried to prevent the celebration by distributing pamphlets Red-tagging the CPA and hanging streamers made out of sacks that maliciously implicated them with the armed revolutionary movement. “Even local government officials were questioned and intimidated into disallowing the celebration to take place,” the group said.

Despite this, the Cordillera people bravely faced this intimidation to successfully launch the big gathering. They vowed to continue to strengthen unity and fight against the push for dam projects, large-scale mining operations, and other projects that will destroy the environment and their ancestral land.

AB: 1,500 people joined celebrations of the People's Cordillera Day in Kalinga