March 10, 2015

Daughters of Cordillera A documentary of three generations of women defendersThe Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) congratulates Pinoy Media Center, its partners and directors in producing an independent documentary video, Daughters of the Cordillera, which tells the story of Piya Macliing Malayao, a young activist who hails from Mainit, Bontoc, Mt. Province, in re-connecting her indigenous roots and activism with her mother, Jean Macliing, and grandmother, Petra Macliing.

Mother Petra Macliing, the grandmother of Piya, is an icon for indigenous women for the defense of land, life, and resources even at the height of the dark years of Martial Law. With courage and determination, she led and participated in countless protest marches, community meetings and dialogues, barricades and petitions against the construction of the biggest dam in Asia of that time – the World Bank funded Chico River Dams project –which the was successfully stopped. Mother Petra is also a human rights defender. She always tells that when someone from their organization or community was arrested during the height of their anti-Chico struggle, she and other groups would troop to military and police barracks and camps to call for their immediate release. In 2009, she was chosen as one of the awardees of the Women’s World Summit Foundation’s (WSSF) Laureate Prize for Rural Women for the year 2009. As her social involvement grew and developed, it was not surprising to note that some of her children followed her footprints of social involvement.   Mother Petra is a pioneer of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and a member of its Advisory Council.

Widowed, and the literal mother of 7 children, Mother Petra was determined to keep her young family from destitution while preserving her ancestral lands through sustainable farming. Mother Petra became a leader within her rural community in Mainit on natural farming techniques. Innovatively utilizing rice husks, a traditional waste product and food for edible regional snails, and the waste product from traditional pig farming, Mother Petra was able to naturally fertilize her fields. Slowly, Mother Petra is drawing her neighbors away from chemical fertilizers as they witness the high yields of her rice paddies. Her being a single parent and the hard life in the rural communities did not hinder her activism for Cordillera indigenous peoples’ rights, which she admirably pursues up to present. Moreover, it strengthened her role as a mother. In fact, she was able to raise all 7 children—all girls— well and they are now professionals, including a doctor, lawyer, an NGO worker and businesswomen.

Even today, Mother Petra never ceased to get involved on peoples issues. She finds time to attend to people’s organizations meetings and programs even in other provinces. As an elder, she always shares her wisdom and experiences to young people.

One of her daughters that have followed her footprints was the late Jean Macliing, the mother of Piya. Jean was a pioneer in people oriented community development work, since graduating at the College of Business Administration in 1975 from UP Diliman. Jean is a model of knowledge and skills harnessed, to truly serve people’s development, as seen in her exemplary profile. She set by example standards of competence and efficiency. Performance and accomplishments were outstanding. The legacy of Jean is in harnessing the totality of knowledge and skills: competence and efficiency, commitment and dedication and strong personable character, for people’s development.

With her qualifications and ability, Jean could have been a technocrat in government or in the corporate world. But she chose to be an activist development worker, for the challenging endeavors of NGOs and POs, within principles and objectives of justice and democracy. Jean dedicated her life in building a development practice that truly serves people’s welfare.

This tradition of intergeneration of activist continues. Piya is currently the Secretary General of the KATRIBU Kalipunan ng mga Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas or national federation of indigenous people’s organizations in the Philippines. Her activism started when she was a college student, after which she joined KATRIBU, formerly known as KAMP.

The CPA believes that this documentary may inspire us and our families to continue and get involved with social issues. Daughters of the Cordillera, a documentary by Ilang-Ilang Quijano, show us that we can emulate the Macliing generations in understanding and working for a better society.

For copies and screenings, feel free to contact Pinoy Media Center at their facebook and website. ***

For reference:

Jude Baggo

Public Information Officer