Women forefronts the struggle for self-determination This Women’s Month, remember Mother Petra

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This year, the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front celebrates International Women’s Month by recalling the life and contributions of Mother Petra Macli-ing, staunch opposition to the Marcos propensity towards plunder and exemplary woman-leader-defender of ancestral territory.

She is best known for leading other women in driving away mining engineers of the Benguet Corporation to exploit the natural resources of Mainit, Bontoc, Mountain Province. True to her Cordillera blood, she used the tradition of respect for women’s bodies to get them to leave. Together, the women of Mainit showed the engineers that their disrespect for the ancestral land equates to disrespect for the bodies that nurtured and gave them their lives.

Decades and centuries ago, women have already risen to the challenge of leadership and sacrifice. Despite the unequal treatment and persistent questions as to their strength and capabilities, women have prevailed against modern capitalism worldwide. Feudal relations in the Philippines, with more than 300 years under its belt, could not stop women from participating in the fight for national liberation. Extreme and widespread poverty, due to a semifeudal and semicolonial system, could not deter women from advancing the national democratic struggle. Similarly, Inna Petra and other women of Cordillera did not let a dictator have his way with the gold that rightfully belongs to the national minorities.

A rotten social system necessitated the emergence of proletarian and revolutionary leaders who then inspire collective mass action, most eagerly answered by women who prove that they are equal to their male counterparts. Inna Petra is one of those brave spirits. Even before the threat of mining in Mainit, she was active in the struggle against the Chico Dam a decade ago. She and other women launched hunger strikes to make a political statement against the devastation of the Cordillera. Today, the plague of destructive capitalist projects which targets ancestral resources is still imminent and devastating, if not worse. A protracted people’s war and the complete seizure of political power from the ruling elite is the only way to go. And the women are aware of their role in the revolution. Each one is a Mother Petra that does her best to answer the clarion call of defending their homes, even to the point of joining the armed struggle and sounding the gangsa to the beat of the national democratic revolution. ###

Kaigorotan, lumaban! Defend the ancestral lands of the people!

Advance the national democratic revolution!

This Women’s Month, remember Mother Petra
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