March 28, 2011

Cordillera Day 2011

The last Cordillera Day I attended was 2008 in Licuay-Baan, Abra. This year Cordi Day will be held in Abra but this time in Lacub, a small town which I stayed for a couple of months during my previous work. Somehow I feel disappointed when I learned that the activity will be held in Lacub. I miss this community and the locals there, the families I met and some of my friends. But because of work, I am pretty sure I will not be able to participate this year's Cordi Day. You need to have at least a week off for the activity.  

2008 Cordi Day in Licuan-Baay, Abra and of course, my favorite- topload!
Lacub was chosen as this year's venue for Cordi Day because of its rich history of resistance against Cellophil Logging in the 80's. Lacub is rich in gold deposits as I have seen and joined local small scale miners before.  Today, Lacub is a target for exploration by Gold Lake Mineral Resources, which mean a threat to the environment and resources for the community. 

Of course, when there is mining, there is militarization. Like the other towns in Abra, politicians in Lacub has their own private army. Plus some large detachments by the Philippine Army surrounding the town, and their aim is to protect large mining companies to operate without fear from the New People's Army.For those who will be attending the activity, enjoy it and at the same time learn about the rich history of Lacub and help the locals in their struggle against destructive mining to preserve their life, land, and tradition. It will be a long and rough trip, about 5 hours from the capital Bangued (I miss riding the jeepney topload! grrr!), but once you get there and participate at the activity, it's great. Meet some locals and fellow participants. I remember last year I some friends from Taiwan and Canada. 

Anyway, here is the invitation from Cordillera Peoples Alliance for Cordillera Day 2011.

Dear Friends,

Greetings from the Cordillera People's Alliance! 

We wish to invite you to the 27th Cordillera Day celebration on April 26-27, 2011 in Abra province, Philippines. The celebration carries the theme 

Live out our glorious history of struggle.  Fight for land, life and honor!
Organized by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, the historic Cordillera Day celebration is popularly known as being held annually on April 23-24. For the 2011 celebration, however, the dates have been moved  two days after the 24th so it will not coincide with the observation of Holy Week which falls from April  21-24. Delegates should arrive at the venue on April 25 and depart on April 28. Please find below and in the attachment the invitation and background of Cordillera Day celebration. 

We hope you could join us in this meaningful event. Please prepare your own travel expenses as we are not able to fund travels and other related costs. A minimal amount of  300 Pesos (8 USD) registration fee will be collected from each delegate to help us cover expenses for the celebration. 

You may share this invitation with your networks and friends. For queries, please contact us through this email address.

In solidarity,

Bestang Sarah Dekdeken

No. 55 Ferguson Road, 2600 Baguio City
Tel. No. (63)(74)304-4239
Fax No. 63)(74) 443-7159


For the Defense of the Ancestral Domain and for Self Determination
December 13, 2010

Dear Friends,
Warmest greetings from the Cordillera!
We are pleased to invite you to the 27th Cordillera Day to be held on April 26-27, 2011 in the province of Abra as a regionally centralized celebration. All delegates are expected to arrive at the venue on April 25 and depart on April 28. 
Cordillera Day 2011 will be hosted by Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan (KASTAN), the provincial chapter of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) in Abra.  
Since its take-off in 1985 from the earlier Macliing Memorials (1980-1984), the Cordillera Day celebration has been an annual tradition vital to affirming the Cordillera peoples’ unity in defending their ancestral domain and in struggling for self determination and national democracy.  Cordillera Day 2011 will focus on burning issues of the Cordillera peoples, including mining, militarization, and human rights violations. 
Mining remains a big issue as nearly a million hectares or 51% of the Cordillera land area is currently covered by the licensed operations and pending applications of transnational corporations and their Filipino partners.  Mining plunder and development aggression have caused environmental disasters and aggravated the vulnerability of indigenous Cordillera communities to climate change.  To suppress community resistance to large mining projects, the state has deployed four regular battalions and three special battalions of the Philippine Army to mining areas.  As in the past, militarization has been attended by countless human rights violations.  Thus this 27th Cordillera Day, elders and tribal leaders will preside over the forging of a multilateral unity pact to resist mining plunder and human rights violations. 
In light of the government’s attempt for a third organic act for a Cordillera autonomous region, the subject of genuine regional autonomy and self-determination will also be a major concern.  
The 27th Cordillera Day will highlight the historic resistance of the indigenous Tinggians of Abra to the logging of their forests by Cellophil Resources Corporation during the years of the US-Marcos Dictatorship.  Lessons from this successful struggle will be drawn in addressing the urgent issues confronting the Cordillera peoples today. 
The theme of the celebration will be:

Biagen ti nadeggang a pakasaritaan iti pannakidangadang.  Ilaban ti daga, biag ken dayaw!Live out our glorious history of struggle.  Fight for land, life and honor!
 As in past celebrations, we request written solidarity messages, cultural presentations and experiences you can share based on the theme. 
Also as in the past, a registration fee of PhP300 will be collected to help cover food expenses. We will appreciate any further financial contribution you can make to help us defray other expenses, such as logistics and the travel of indigent delegates, who will compose the bulk of the participants. 
Please send your confirmation of participation, messages and financial contributions to CPA on or before April 15, 2011.
Attached is the background paper on Cordillera Day.  The two-day program, travel advisory and venue profile will follow.  For questions and clarifications, please contact the undersigned at the following: 
Cordillera Peoples Alliance
55 Ferguson Road
2600 Baguio City
e-mail: cpa@... 
telephone: (+63) (74) 304 4239
fax: (+63) (74) 443 7159
We hope you can be with us on this historic solidarity event.  Thank you.
(Sgd.) Windel Bolinget

(Sgd.) Abigail Anongos
Secretary General

CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE#55 Ferguson Road, 2600 Baguio City
Tel. No. (63)(74)304-4239
Fax No. 63)(74) 443-7159