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Monument to Cordillera martyrs demolished

The monument to the three martyrs of the anti-Chico Dam struggle during the Ferdinand Marcos dictatorship was demolished by suspected police personnel last Wednesday, January 13, in Tinglayan, Kalinga province.

The metal panels featuring the faces of Ama Macliing Dulag, Ama Lumbaya Gayudan and Ama Pedro Dungoc were removed from the Anti-Chico Dams Struggle Monument platform located along the Bontoc-Kalinga road.

The monument’s commemorative inscription was likewise removed.

The demolished panels of the monument. (Northern Dispatch photo)

Barangay Bugnay village officials and the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA) point to members of the Philippine National Police as the perpetrators of the desecration, Northern Dispatch reported.

The Police Advisory Council of the Kalinga Provincial Police Office recommended the monument’s removal in September last year.

Last October, the Department of Public Works and Highways issued a notice to the CPA that the monument violated road right of way.

According to an Inquirer report, the upper Kalinga district engineering office said the monument “lies 4.10 meters from the centerline of the road” and that it “encroached [on] or is within the road right-of-way of the national road.”

In the same report, however, the CPA said the memorial lies within the property of Macli-ing’s son, Robert, and should not be removed without permission from the family and the community.

Pushing it farther from the road would be improbable because it was perched near a cliff, the group added.

The base of the monement after demolition. (Northern Dispatch photo)

In November last year, a petition was launched on change.org saying the monument’s removal is “a brazen act of obliterating the Cordillera people’s history of struggle against oppression and injustice.”

“It is part of the government’s acts of historical revisionism or distorting and erasing the true history of the people’s resistance and heroism which remain relevant until today,” the petition said.

The Bantayog ng mga Bayani Foundation, a group dedicated to the preservation of anti-Marcos martial law heroes, also said it opposes the plan to demolish the monument.

The site is “a precious heroes’ marker in Kalinga province, and urges government to cherish and protect the monument for the inspiration of all Filipino ethnic peoples,” the group said.

READ: Cordillerans unveil Chico River heroes’ marker

Unveiled in April 2017, the marker also honored other Cordillera heroes—Kathlyn Iyabang-Atumpa, Guzman Gunday, Julio Dulanag, Pingwot Dawing, Yag-ao Ebulwang, Daniel Ijog, Orchag Olyog, Simeon Talis, Dalunag Dawadaw, Gaspar Yag-ao and Elena Edpis—whose names were also etched on the marker. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

First Kalinga transport strike due to jeepney phaseout

By TMK
www.nordis.net

TABUK CITY, Kalinga — About 150 drivers, operators and commuters launched a protest action against the implementation of the jeepney phase out program by the current administration on July 9, 2018 here in the city center.

The first ever protest of the transport sector in the city commenced with a protest caravan of about 40 jeepneys from Bulanao in front of the Provincial Hospital towards the City hall in Dagupan, Tabuk city with MPT, streamers and calls to denounce the jeepney phase out of the present government administration which is an attack to their lives and livelihood.

Marching around the the city center, the protesters trooped to the Sangguniang Panlungsod Session hall to present before the city legislators their criticisms and position paper on the Jeepney modernization program through the Department Order No. 217-011 or the Omnibus Franchising Guidelines released by the Department of Transportation (DoTr) on June 19, 2017.

The said protest was organized and led by the Kalinga Federation of Jeepney Operators and Drivers Associations (KaFeJODA) a newly formed federation of different small associations of public transport groups in the province. Whereas, the commuters especially from the basic sector- farmers welcomed the activity and mobilized themselves to participate in the protest action believing that in the end, it is them who will surely suffer the consequences and effect of this jeepney phase out.

The drivers, operators and commuters out rightly opposed the plan of the Duterte government to modernize the public transport wherein by the end of 2020 the current jeepney will be replaced by either solar a powered jeep, electronic jeeps and/or Euro IV engine jeeps.

“Dakami nga babassit nga jeepney operators ken drivers agraman maapektaran nga umili ditoy Kalinga ket saan mi a palubusan ti kayat ken panggep ti administrasyon ni Duterte nga i-modernize wenno sukatan dagiti pampubliko nga transportasyon. Kontra kami iti jeepney phase-out gapu ta dakami ti number 1 nga maapektaran. Patayen na ti pangkabiagan mi nga babbassit nga operators ken drivers,” the KaFeJODA statement read.

(We the small jeepney operators and drivers together with the affected people of Kalinga are not in favor on the plan of the Duterte administration to replace the public transportation vehicles, we are against the jeepney phase out because we wil be the first ones to be adversely affected. It will kill our source of livelihood.)

“First and foremost, we the small operators and drivers cannot afford these expensive jeeps they are trying to introduce ranging from eight hundred thousand up to 1.6 million pesos. Furthermore, these type of jeeps are not applicable here in the province considering the mountainous terrain,” the statement further read.

The operators and drivers belied the modernization program of the Duterte government and said, “instead, it is but another strategy of the capitalist corporations to monopolize and corporatize the public transportation system for their super profits.

They also claimed that this program is a disaster to their livelihood that would slump them to poverty. Through the fleet consolidation scheme of the PUV modernization, it will displace most of the current drivers/operators who are single operator units.

“Maawanan kami iti kontrol iti bukod mi a lugan ken prangkisa gapu ta maikonsentra kadagiti korporasyon ken babaknang nga isu da metlaeng ti makabael a makagatang iti minimum 15 units kadagitoy a lugan.” (“we no longer have control over our own jeeps and franchise since it will be concentrated to the corporation and rich businessmen who also are the only ones who can afford to buy a minimum of 15 units of these type of jeeps” the statement also read.

On the other hand, the city legislators welcomed and accommodated the protesters in their regular session. The protesters presented before the legislators their position paper asking the city councilors to support their plea via resolution to suspend the implementation of the Department of Transportation department order and the current transport system at status quo.

The legislators expressed that they cannot supersede any memorandum released from the national, however they assured to look into it and make an action to address the pressing issue. The city legislative body through the Committee on Transportation shall review and study the Department Order and Memorandum Circular No. 2018-008. The legislators also seconded the motion of Hon. Zoraida Wacnang to invite the KaFeJODA to sit during the review and study the said Department Order.

Meanwhile, the protesters felt dismayed upon their observation that the city councilors are obviously not so aware of the issue of the jeepney phase out. #nordis.net

Kalinga, Bumangon Ka

While singing this song entitled, Kalinga, Bumangon Ka, which was composed during the height of the anti-Chico Dam struggle, members of the Innnabuyog-Kalinga are reminded of their responsibility as umili to defend once again their ancestral lands from the encroachment of so-called “development projects”: proposed dams along the Chico River under Pres. Duterte’s Build, Build, Build, Chevron’s geothermal project in the tri-boundary of Pasil, Lubuagan and Tinglayan, etc. which would mean the destruction of their livelihood and their way of life as Kalinga peoples.

74-year political prisoner dies while in hospital detention

BANGKOK, Thailand–A 74-year old political detainee arrested under President Rodrigo Duterte died in a Philippine hospital Tuesday.

Marcos Aggalao, a veteran of the struggle against Ferdinand Marcos’ Chico Dam project, died while on hospital arrest at the Kalinga Provincial Hospital in Tabuk September 12 from complications arising from multiple strokes he suffered in detention.

The victim suffered his third stroke in prison last August 29. He also suffered dementia.

Aggalao is the second political prisoner who had died in detention under the Duterte regime. Both were elderly and sickly.

On November 2016, Bernabe Ocasla, 66, a peasant organizer detained in Metro Manila City Jail also died after being in a coma for three days and subsequently suffered a heart attack.

Aggalao was arrested September 10, 2016 by the Kalinga Philippine National Police on charges of frustrated murder and murder, among others.

Aggalao hailed from Balbalan, Kalinga province, one of the many communities in the Cordilleras that fought the Marcos dictatorship.

“Sandugo holds the Duterte regime accountable for the death of 74-year old political prisoner because he failed to fullfill his commitment to release all political prisoners, especially the elderly and the ailing,” national minorities group Sandugo in a statement said.

“To him [Duterte], political prisoners are simply trump cards he can use to force the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) into a bilateral and permanent ceasefire agreement ahead of the agreement on social and economic reforms that includes guarantees on the rights of the national minorities to their ancestral lands and territories,” Sandugo added.

The group said Aggalao is another addition to a long list of those who have given their lives and prime years “to fight tyranny.”

“But Duterte, in complete disregard [of history], acts to reverse this…He has consistently moved towards the political rehabilitation of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, who was responsible for the multiple crimes of genocide against the Bangsamoro and the widespread dispossession of the national minorities of their ancestral lands,” Sandugo said.

Human rights group Karapatan for its part said Aggalao’s death is “enraging.”

Karapatan said Duterte’s “cheap tricks” to turn political prisoners into trump cards and deny them freedom have cost them their lives.

“It is not only their illness that have caused their deaths, but this government’s injustice and inaction. For every political prisoner who dies, ultimately, the GRP is accountable,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay in a statement said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)