Cordillera Day set in Kalinga province

>> Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Alfred P. Dizon

(Abigael Anongos of Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance writes this week’s piece)
The 33rd Cordillera Day celebration or Cordillera Day 2017 will take place in Sitio Bolo, Barangay Balantoy, Balbalan, Kalinga from April 23-25.  
Dubbed Cordillera People’s Caravan for Self-Determination and Peace, Cordillera Day for this year is guided by the central theme Pairtengen ti Pannakidangadang para iti Bukod a Pangngeddeng ken Panangsalaknib iti Daga, Biag ken Dayaw (Intensify the struggle for self-determination and defense of land, life and honor).
For this year, Cordillera Day is hosted locally by Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance Kalinga Chapter and KALASAG.
Brief background
Cordillera Day celebration traces its roots to the martyrdom of Kalinga pangat Macliing Dulag during the anti-Chico Dams resistance in the 1970s, funded by the World Bank.
It was on April 24, 1980 that soldiers of the Philippine Army assassinated Macliing Dulag. From 1981 to 1984, the commemoration of the death of Macliing Dulag was called Macliing Memorial.
With the broadening of the Cordillera mass movement encompassing all the provinces of the Cordillera, the commemoration started as Cordillera Day in 1985 to symbolize the widening unity and solidarity among the different indigenous peoples of the Cordillera, and with advocate and support groups at the regional, national and international levels.
The first celebration of Cordillera Day was held in Sadanga, Mountain Province. It was also in June 1984 that the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) was founded and took the lead in the celebration of Cordillera Day, which is now on its 33rd year.
Cordillera Day remains relevant as the expression of the people’s movement for national freedom, democracy and self-determination. April 24 is the Cordillera Day owned and embraced by the people, in contrast with those organized by government and the Cordillera People’s Liberation Army, which is essentially historical revisionism.
Program of events
The programme of the 33rd Cordillera kicks off on April 23 in Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga during the man-aabtan (convergence or salubungan) where all Cordillera Day delegates from the provinces, other regions and international community gather for unveiling of the marker dedicated to the heroes of the Chico Dam struggle, such as Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc and Lumbaya Gayudan. 
The marker will rise at Sitio Iker, overlooking the village of Bugnay and the Chico Riv er. The program takes place from 11a.m. to 12 noon so  all delegates will proceed to Sitio Bolo in Balantoy at 1 p.m. with the expected time of arrival in the venue from 5 to 6 p.m.  
On April 24, the Cordillera Day itself,   program highlights include the keynote speech from Rev. Fr. Rex B. Reyes, secretary general of the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP) and National Council member of the SANDUGO Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, input on the national situation from Renato Reyes Jr.,  Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) secretary general and  updates on the peace talks  from Rep. Carlos Zarate of Bayan Muna Partylist.
The rest of the afternoon will include situational updates from each Cordillera province and Baguio City in cultural form.  Cultural presentations are also expected from progressive artists and international delegates coming from indigenous communities in Taiwan, Cambodia and Japan.
The rest of the evening follows with a tribute to Cordillera heroes and martyrs, Datayo ni Kaigorotan by the Dap-ayan ti Kultura iti Kordilyera (DKK) and concert for self-determination and peace, up to the solidarity night.
On April 25, Cordillera Day 2017 ends in a caravan and rally against militarization.
Cordillera Day 2017 will also be commemorated by kakailian and advocates in Hongkong on April 23 and in Montreal, Canada in April 15. 


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