The recent verbal slur of Senator-elect Imee Marcos, calling upon Igorots to perform a ritual dance to supposedly drive away bad spirits from the office of Senator Trillanes, which she would take over soon, shows her disrespect and utter ignorance of Cordillera culture. Even if she has claimed lately that it was only a ‘joke,’ it is in fact a joke that is all the more offensive to the Cordillera people. Adding insult to injury, she referred to the Cordillerans as “our Igorots” relegating the Cordillerans into a second class status as if to imply that the Igorots are owned by the ruling class in the country that can be easily summoned to slavishly run errands for the tyrant master anytime. These verbal misfires only reflect her omnipotent mentality that her dictator father has instilled on her.
The Cordillera culture that we have inherited from our ancestors is closely woven with the lands, the resources and the lives that we continue to defend and develop. It is not something to be mocked or to be joked about. To allow our indigenous rituals performed for the self-serving interest of the hated dictator’s descendant is a betrayal of the revolutionary aspirations fought by the Cordillera people since the US-Marcos dictatorial rule.
Her denigration of Igorots is not surprising, since she grew up with a silver platter and has been raised by a dictator who regard ancestral lands and the country as something to be conquered and bidded to the highest bidder. Since greed is in her blood, she has now offered her services to the worst plunderous and vicious regime since the rule of the dictatorship.
The bad spirit of the tyrannical rule that befell the Marcos family and continue to possess Imee haunts the Cordillera people and the entire country. She badly needs cleansing of conscience. Instead of exhorting Igorots to do the cleansing ritual, why can’t she do it herself? She can very well do herself a favor if she will publicly recognize the many crimes and human rights violations committed by her father and his fascist machinery against the Cordillera people, indemnify the victims, prosecute the perpetrators and serve justice to all aggrieved parties. She can further redeem herself from eternal damnation if she will take a stand against her close friend Digong’s unceasing cheap peddling of Cordillera resources to foreign investors like the sell-out of the geothermal energy of Kalinga to Chevron, destruction of ancestral lands in the controversial Chico River Irrigation Pump Project, favoring Chinese workers over poor Igorots. Further still, she should just help the hundreds of thousands of Cordillera people who are burdened by the repeated battering of tropical typhoons last year and the present drought.
May we remind her that the Cordillera people has been waging a revolutionary struggle for nationalism and democracy along with the entire Filipino people against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism for more than four decades now. Specifically, we are fighting to establish the Cordillera People’s Revolutionary Autonomous Government, the genuine embodiment of the recognition of our right to self-determination. Certainly, we do not wish to remain an oppressed and exploited people under a semi-feudal and semi-colonial system, much less dream of becoming a people Imee Marcos calls her own Igorots.
We cannot forget the worst inhumanity that was unleashed by the US-Marcos dictatorship in the form of the imposition of the Chico Dam, Cellophil logging concession and the like and the subsequent massive militarization of our communities. Because of the firm militant opposition of the Cordillera people against the plans of the dictatorship to sell our land and resources to foreign companies, Cordillerans have been subjected to various kinds of reactionary violence to crush our resistance. And for that, she nor anyone has the right and temerity to call our people as their ‘Igorot.’
The irresponsible remarks of Imee may seem to be a trivial issue amidst major political & economic issues currently besetting the Filipino people. But minor as it may be, it manifests the far larger problem of national oppression perpetrated by the reactionary state against national minorities. It reflects the discrimination against the Cordillera people. Combined with the plunder of our resources, historical neglect of the government, militarization and commercialization of our culture, we are coerced to accept the neoliberal impositions of the state at the expense of our land and culture.
The triumph of Cordillera people’s struggle against the Chico Dam and Cellophil logging projects is forever etched on our collective memory. It was a hard-fought victory paid for by the many hardships and sacrifices beyond measure. As the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front carries forward the fight to this day, we are ever determined to ensure that the blood, sweat, tears, and the very lives of many Cordillerans offered in the altar of the anti-dictatorship revolutionary struggle will not come to naught.
The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front calls on all Cordillerans to fight against the three basic problems of imperialism, bureaucrat capitalism and feudalism that perpertrates national oppression against against national minorities and the toiling masses as a whole. We will never be silent against these unjust depictions and misrepresentation of Cordillera people. We will always show our indignation and fight against the tyranny and fascism of the US-Duterte regime that Imee Marcos serves. The warrior tradition of the Cordillera people, together with the strong will and aspiration of the majority of the Filipino peoples to fight for freedom, national democracy and self-determination, will ultimately prevail in toppling down the whole semifeudal and semicolonial system.
Fight against national oppression!
Advance the national-democratic revolution until total victory! FETAD! Rebolusyon kayet!