Self-determination is part of national democratic struggle Minorities find strength in action and in organization

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The Cordillera Day is a massive collective action that resulted from the peoples’ anguish and grief over the Marcoses’ greed, injustice and violence. Born out of the martyrdom of Ama Macliing Dulag, this annual gathering is now also an occasion to celebrate the national minorities’ strength in action and its force as an organization. Today, more than four decades since Ama Macliing Dulag’s death, it is now more than a recognition of his sacrifice and influence but a pledge of the present generation’s commitment to further strengthen its ranks, especially against the likes of Ferdinand Marcos and other fascist dictators.

The neoliberal policies that Ferdinand Marcos allowed into the country during his dictatorship continue to plague the minorities. Even at this time, there is an abundance of private companies vying to exploit the natural resources in the region. The river systems that irrigated the ancestral lands are vulnerable to these companies. In fact, the Department of Energy already awarded its go-signal to 96 hydropower facilities, of which 17 is ongoing while the rest is in development or pre-development stage. Most alarming of these projects are the facilities in Apayao-Abulug and in Nabuangan River.

Meanwhile, large-scale capitalist mining is in revival mode since 2019. Depleting the region’s gold, copper and other minerals, especially in the province of Benguet are the same foreign-owned and controlled corporations: Lepanto, Gold Fields, Apex Mining, Benguet Corporation, CEXCI and other exploitative enterprises. On the other hand, while the US-Duterte administration has previously restricted small-scale mining, the pandemic is now an excuse to support it as part of the economic recovery program. While this provides jobs, the one that stands to gain most is the gold-buying and selling operations of the government. The extraction of Cordillera’s natural riches produces unprecedented profits for the capitalists while causing life-changing damage to both the environment and the tribal communities.

Capitalists and their cohorts in the bureaucracy operate these enterprises without the full determination of the national minorities. Oftentimes, consent is coerced due to poverty and the disinformation that such destructive projects can be livelihood opportunities. This being the case, the struggle for self-determination is fought alongside the national democratic struggle, i.e. against imperialist plunder and for economic justice across marginalized classes and sectors.

Coincidentally, today is also the 49th anniversary of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NFDP) of which the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) is a member organization. The CPDF gives due recognition to the NDFP for uniting under one revolutionary banner the struggles of many national democratic forces, including that of Cordillera peoples. Asserting the rights of the national minorities is a resonance of the struggle of the Filipino nation that has relentlessly advanced the revolution under the leadership of the Communist Party of the Philippines.

The CPDF joins the peoples of Cordillera in reaffirming that strength in action and force as an organization is its great advantage. It enjoins the minorities to honor the NDFP by constantly linking the struggle for self-determination to the struggle towards national democracy against imperialism, feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism. Recognizing that the minorities’ plight is part of the national democratic struggle entails recognizing the people’s democratic armed revolution as the only way to defeat these social ills. To this, the national minorities of the Cordillera wholeheartedly agree: Fetad ingganas balligi! Kaigorotan, lumaban! Iyabante ti rebolusyonaryo a gubat! Agbiag ti Kordilyera ken agbiag ti nailian a minorya a lumablaban! ###

Minorities find strength in action and in organization
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