Unshattered monuments of proud and brave Igorots

>> Saturday, February 13, 2021

Gina Dizon

TINGLAYAN, KALINGA- Talk about proud and brave Igorots who fought for their land, waters and life and we remember Kalinga pangat Macling Dulag and village leaders Pedro Dungoc and Lumbaya Gayudan. 
    It was a month ago in Jan. 3 this year when some persons masked and in hooded wear alleged to be members of the Philippine National Police destroyed the historical monuments installed near the Bontoc- Kalinga road above the village of Bugnay, Tinglayan.
    Monuments that etched the faces of Macling Dulag and Pedro Dungoc from Bugnay, Tinglayan and Lumbaya Gayudan from Ngibat, Tinglayan. 
    Bugnay located above the mighty and famous Chico River is home to village elders of the Butbut tribe Macli-ing and Dungoc; and Gayudan from Ngibat who fought against the construction of the infamous Chico River Basin Development Project in the 1970s. 
     The mega Chico River Hydroelectric Dam project of then President Ferdinand Marcos was designed to bring hydroelectric energy to northern Luzon and the rest of the country. The 1010 megawatt dam project was planned to be built in four sites along the stretch of the mighty Chico River that traces its headwaters in Bauko, Mountain Province flowing on to Tabuk, Kalinga and on to the Cagayan River would displace about 100,000 Kalinga and Bontoc peoples if realized.
    Failed Chico dam
    Imagine how the megadam would have submerged the villages of Sabangan, Sadanga, Bontoc of Mountain Province and the barrios of Tinglayan, Pasil, Lubuagan, and Tabuk along the Chico River.
    The four series of mega dams with more than 100 megawatts each are too broad and wide an expanded destruction of land and livelihood, shattering the integrity of a tribal people and uprooting them from their very homes.
    If it happened.   
    The feasibility study of the Chico River hydro electric dam by Lahmeyer International supposed to be funded by  a World Bank loan was expected to produce Chico 1 with 100 megawatts in Sabangan, Mountain Province; Chico II to produce 360 megawatts in Sadanga, Mountain Province; Chico III  to produce 100 megawatts in Basao, Tinglayan, Kalinga; and Chico IV  to generate  450 megawatts  in Tomiangan, Tabuk, Kalinga.
    Think of the Agno River fuelling the 105 megawatt Ambuklao Dam and the expanse of the land it ate up and what would have happened to Chico River and its 1010 megawatt expanse if pursued to reality. Such wide expanse would be seeing dry lands during summer along the Chico with scarce flow of water when summer comes as it is noted nowadays.  
    No. The elders and leaders from Kalinga and Bontoc did not like the Chico River Dam to happen.
    To see themselves helpless and a tribe shattered, displaced from their homes and their lands where they source their livelihood destroyed is not going to happen. 
    Should the dam have happened, the barrios of Ableg, Cagaluan, Dupag, Tanglag, Dognac, and Mabongtot of Pasil municipality would have been completely submerged. More than 1000 families would have been homeless and P31, 500,000 worth of farmlands would have been lost. A P38, 250,000 worth of rice fields farmed by the residents of Bangad, Lubuagan, Dangtalan, Guinaang, and Naneng would have been flooded, noted in a case study of the Chico River dam project by Joanna Carino.
    The late Atty Jaime Gomez, former governor of Mountain Province in the ‘70s earlier interviewed by this writer narrated how the people of Bontoc have opposed the planned construction of the dam.
    “Imagine what could have happened if the dam pursued. Bontoc could have been submerged in waters”, he said.
    The very capital town of Bontoc and its low lying barangays of Samoki, Bontoc Ili, Caluttit, Gonogon, and Alab could have been disastrously affected.
    But that did not happen.        
    The strong and fervent opposition of Kalinga leaders and their counterparts in Bontoc made sure the dam shall not happen.
    The verdant greeneries, treasured ricefields and villages nearby the mighty Chico River could have been inundated. For the project if it happened to reality shall submerge the barrios of Ableg, Cagaluan, Dupag, Tanglag, Dognac, and Mabongtot of Kalinga. Some P31, 500,000 worth of farmlands lost, the case study noted.
    Macliing, Dungoc and Gayudan and the rest of the Bontocs and Kalingas who fought against the Chico River Dam project did not want that to happen. Definitely not. That their fight led to the death of Macliing Dulag killed by elements of the 4rth Infantry Division of the Philippine Army in April 24, 1980. And the rest is history when the planned Chico River Basin Development Project did not pursue.
    And when you see the Chico River flow now, you see the beauty of  white river waters and the verdant vegetation intact where people enjoy, and equally or more equally important, the integrity of a tribe untarnished.
    The very livelihood of people and their integrity remained. The very ricefields worked on from preparation to planting to harvest of golden yellow-brown rice panicles blessed with rituals offered to Kabunyan to bestow on prolific harvest remained.     
    And life persisted. 
    A homeland cherished and nurtured for the present and the generations to come.   
    A defense to land and life and waters that etched the faces of Macliing,Dungoc and Gayudan in monument panels aesthetically and symbolically installed at Bugnay  overlooking the Chico River.  
    Village-made monuments
    The Butbut tribe mostly from Bugnay conceptualized how the monuments looked like and finalized by Baguio-based artist-architect Vladimir Longid and Baguio-based artist Jordan Mangusan.
    Monuments that were requested by Macli-ing’s son Francis to the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in the year 2000.  The monuments saw installation on Macli-ing’s property within the tribal domain of Bugnay and the Butbut tribe participated in the inauguration of the monuments as part of the people’s Cordillera Day celebration on April 23, 2017.
    “We continue to celebrate Cordillera Day in areas where communities are fighting against threats to their ancestral lands and their survival as indigenous peoples”, the CPA said in their statement.
    The monuments make a living testimony of a people who defended the Chico River from being dammed. The bravery and defense to land and the Chico River stays, highlighted and made manifest by Macliing, Dungoc and Gayudan and the rest of  brave men and women from Kalinga and Bontoc.
    Made to be remembered in monument panels that were the envy of those who vandalized these for all what these meant.     Only those who didn’t like these, who didn’t relate or identify with these wouldn’t appreciate these, wouldn’t even care and so destroyed these
    And vandalized they did.
    The infamous destruction
    It happened when the Provincial Advisory Council of the Kalinga Provincial Police Office requested the provincial government through the Sangguniang Panlalawigan Committee on Oversight to “enact a resolution to remove the monuments of Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc and Lumbaya Gayudan built by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance on the road right of way of the national road in Bugnay, Tinglayan.”
    It happened when the Upper Kalinga District Engineering Office (UKDEO) said the construction of the monument is illegal as it is situated 4.10 meters from the centerline of the road and that the monument encroached on the national road.
    And so it went that the monument panels were there for three years and the DPWH was not complaining. And so it is a wonder why and with so many other questionable roads- right- of- way along the Bontoc-Kalinga road, only the site where the monuments stood was attacked of it being within a road- right- of- way and the panels eventually brought down by still unidentified persons.
    Destroyed without any consultation at all to the private owners of the land or to the Butbut tribe of Bugnay whose ancestral domain the monuments were installed.   
    Destruction that the people of Bugnay did not like.
    Fr. Pedro Dungoc Jr, son of Pedro Dungoc said, “Haan kuma nga madaael nu awan ti sigurado nga maiyakarana. Kunan ti umili haan kuma nga maiyakar ngem dinadael da met. Awan ti natungtung ket dinadael da met”.  (Shouldn’t have been destroyed if there was no assured place for the monuments to be transferred. The people said the panels shouldn’t have been transferred but they destroyed these. There was no agreement made and they destroyed the monuments.)
    And so in a barangay resolution the Bugnay folks condemned the destruction and demanded for an investigation of who vandalized the monuments. Yes, police investigation is on-going.
    Who would not like the monuments in the first place? Who else would do such destruction?
    For there is no other reason but political in the midst  of  red-tagging by  the PNP and the Philippine Army on  CPA as an alleged communist  front.
    Cordillera Peoples Alliance in their statement forwarded, “We call on the PNP to stop their dastardly acts of attacking the CPA, including physical structures like the monument that did nothing but honor our heroes. We call on the public not to tolerate this State tyranny and speak out against abuses on people’s rights.”
    If the vandals’ problem is CPA, they should have dealt with CPA. And not to a people’s monumental history. Not with a tribes’ enjoyment to their very own domain and what they want done in their very own properties.   
Installing the monuments back
    The people of Bugnay are deciding to install the monuments again. Fr. Pedro Dungoc Jr said the people are contemplating that the transfer be installed in the entrance to their village. Though, another place is being eyed at the slope across the site where the monuments were originally placed.  Unless the monument panels be returned to the place where these were originally brought down. The transfer has not yet happened.
    For no amount of destruction or vandalism shall erase a history that happened. And history shall be remembered and treasured much more so where the cause was just and laudable.  

      (Photo from Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defenders Network.)






  © Blogger templates Palm by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP  

Web Statistics