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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)

Cordillerans unveil Chico River heroes’ marker

BUGNAY folk, church people and other delegations to the ongoing Cordillera Day 2017 opened a shrine in honor of the three leading martyrs of the struggle against Ferdinand Marcos’ Chico River Mega-Dam project in Tinglayan town in Kalinga yesterday, April 23.

Three steel markers representing images of Ama Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc and Lumbaya Gayudan who led the struggle against the World Bank-funded dam project that threatened to submerge Kalinga and Mountain province communities, ricefields and burial grounds  were unveiled along the Bontoc-Tinglayan Road in Bugnay village.

In his message read during the unveiling program, Rev. Brent Harry Alawas, a bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines (EDNP), said it is fitting that the memorial marker is established in Bugnay village, Macliing’s village, the Chico dam struggle’s first martyr.

On April 24, 1980, soldiers led by Lt. Leodegario Adalem raided Bugnay to look for Macliing and Pedro who were then active leaders in the struggle against the projects.

Macliing was killed that night but Pedro survived.

Pedro later decided to take up arms and join the New People’s Army (NPA) in his continuing pursuit to defend his people and his homeland.

Bishop Alawas said that the first team to respond to the murder of Macliing was from the EDNP in Bontoc.

He said then Bishop Richard Abellon sent his staff Benedict Solang and Victor Ananayo, village leader Eduardo Akiate and Elizabeth Dirige of Bontoc on April 26, 1980 to investigate the incident.

The team threaded through several military checkpoints and gathered information on the killing of Macliing they then made public upon returning to Bontoc.

The initial EDNP fact-finding report was followed up with subsequent missions and protest actions by various groups.

Robert Macliing  expressed gratitude for the honor bestowed to Ama Macliing.

“Ama Macliing was not just my father. He was our father, a father of the Cordillerans.  This marker is ours to be proud of,” he said in a written statement.

“The challenge as Macliing’s children is to strive to follow on his footsteps and continue his struggle for the defense of the homeland,” he added.

Dungoc’s son, Fr. Pedro Dungoc Jr. was among the priests from various denominations who concelebrated a Mass at the unveiling ceremony

“In closing, I would like to borrow the words of Bishop Alawas: Let us be inspired by our martyrs to continue the struggle that they started to protect our ancestral land, environment an resources, rights as indigenous peoples, and to promote just and lasting peacr in the Cordillera,” Pedro Jr. said.

Names of 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—were also etched at the marker. # (Kimberlie Olmaya Quitasol  / Photo by Audrey Beltran)