An Open Letter to the Elders of Agawa, Baclingayan and other concerned elders


To our esteemed elders,

Revolutionary greetings!

These are troubled times for the people of Besao, Tubo and adjacent municipalities. As you may well know, a few week sago, a dire incident occurred along the ridges bridging the Provinces of Abra and Mt. Province which led to the death of Pedro Sauyen, Ivan Gabaen, and Ronnie Macayba, all of Agawa Tribe in Brgy. Nabanig, Besao, Mt. Province. We have
received reports that the alleged perpetrator is a resident of Sitio Baclingayan, Brgy. Tabacda, Tubo.

Tension and anxiety between and among the concerned communities consequently arose from the incident. Some went as far as to call for retribution: blood for blood or tribal war. While we recognize the urgent need for swift justice on this matter, we, as servants of all oppressed and down-trodden, are duty- bound to prevent the intensification of the brewing conflict.

We urge you to make a firm stand against the escalation of the issue towards a full-blown tribal war. We entreat our esteemed elders to be a portrait of reason and a beacon of justice. Dialogue and due process to mete out justice to the victims and aggrieved parties have proven to be effective in dispute resolution among our people and between tribes.

Tribal wars only lead to unnecessary loss of countless lives, not to mention wastage of time, energy and resources. Ultimately, the people will suffer without genuinely addressing the roots of the conflict. Issues such as scarcity of resources, destruction of the environment and boundary disputes commonly ignite inter-tribal conflict. These are offshoots of the present semi-feudal semi-colonial system perpetrated by the ruling class which cannot be resolved through tribal war.

The largest gainers in tribal wars are actually the ruling class, not the oppressed peasants and ordinary people. Tribal wars serve to slowly erode the unity of the people and turn families, clans, and tribes against each other, all the while diverting
their attention from their true and radical problems—imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism, feudalism, and national oppression. Thus, giving many opportunities for the imperialist and the ruling big comprador-bourgeoisie and landlords to advance their plans to grab ancestral territories and resources unnoticed. Unwittingly or otherwise, some individuals and institutions who are capitalizing on these incidents to instigate tribal wars are servants of the ruling class.

As opposed to tribal war, the revolutionary people’s war currently blazing across the nation unites all the oppressed classes against their common class enemy, the landlords and big comprador-bourgeoisie, and their imperialist master. It addresses the roots of conflict. Instead of directing our anger towards our fellow oppressed Igorot, we should be one in bringing down the system that perpetuates our hardships. The Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front are more than willing to intercede in this case in order to bring it to its just and peaceful resolution. We enjoin all parties concerned to cooperate to ensure that due process for both the victims’ families and the suspect’s is observed. We urge our elders to do their part to the attainment of justice for the victims without further bloodshed. ##

An Open Letter to the Elders of Agawa, Baclingayan and other concerned elders