On remembering the Bataan Death March Valor is every day when fighting for the right to self-determination
April 9th and the rest of the year are all days of valor for the masses. In Cordillera, especially, valor is every single day of defending the rights of a national minority. It is the daily struggle of asserting the right to self-determination while eking out a livelihood with barely decent assistance from the government.
Valor is when the tribes of Kalinga and Bontoc resisted against Ferdinand Marcos’ designs to dam the great Chico River. They were up against a dictator but the tribes united in a multilateral bodong (peace pact) to ensure their collective strength against this aggression.
Valor today is when the people of Apayao continue to oppose the incursions of Pan Pacific Renewable Power Corporation in the Apayao-Abulug River. The i-Apayao continue their resistance even if the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples tasked to protect their welfare and interests instead abandoned them and then maligned their just struggle towards self-determination.
Valor is to stand up against the NTF-ELCAC, its underhanded tactics and its murderous ways. Under the US-Duterte administration, Red-tagging and vilification of progressive individuals practically precede summary execution, often in the most violent of manners. That the national minority of the Cordillera continue to march onwards for their ancestral rights is no mean feat of valor. The struggle for this inalienable right has become literally a matter of life and death.
The CPDF joins the Filipino nation in marking the 80th year from when around 70,000 Filipino soldiers were forced to participate in what is now called the Bataan Death March. No token is due, neither for the American generals who turned tail to defend US bases elsewhere nor for the Japanese fascists with a view to so-called Asian imperialism. Today is in remembrance of the Filipinos who died in the march and the rest who languished in prison camps afterwards. Similarly, the CPDF honors all tribes and peoples of the Cordillera choosing to take a stand against imperialist powers, profit-hungry corporations, corrupt regimes and lackeys in government agencies. Let today be a reminder that valor is abundant in the ranks of the oppressed and exploited and that the national democratic revolution advances because of this valor.
Fetad! Kaigorotan, ilaban ti karbengan iti bukod-a-panagkeddeng!
Long live the heroes and martyrs of the Bataan Death March!
Long live the people’s democratic revolution!