The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) opposes the burial of the late Dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani (LNB) this coming September. In fact, the burial of Marcos at the LNB is an insult to Martial Law victims in the region and in the country. It is a serious crime of historical revisionism, as if Martial Law never happened.
History tells us that during the dictatorship, the Cordillera region became a garrison and a resource-base for plunder and exploitation. Marcos unleashed brutal military operations in all communities opposing his destructive and anti-people projects which resulted to grave human rights violations, such as the Chico Dams and Cellophil Resources logging concession.
Marcos is no hero. Despite the attempts of spin masters of the Marcos family to rewrite history, the lives of martyrs and heroes of the Cordillera people can never be forgotten. In Hapao, Hungduan, Ifugao, the community suffered several times of hamletting and forcible evacuation because of military operations. In succeeding years, more villagers in the Cordillera interiors were subjected to various forms of brutality.
The Presidential Guard Battalion accompanied the forced implementation of the four World Bank-funded hydropower mega-dams along the Chico River and the logging project of Marco’s crony Herminio Disini covering more than 200,000 hectares of pine forest in Abra. These destructive projects and accompanying militarization were met with stiff resistance from affected villages.
RAZED. One of the houses burned by the military on May 6, 1983. Photo courtesy of Pepot Ilagan archives
The Martial Law regime responded with the murder of Macliing Dulag and the arrest in Tanglag, Lubuagan, Kalinga of two hundred men, women and children and detained them in Camp Olivas, Pampanga. Among them was Ama Daniel Ngayaan, a peace pact holder and retired teacher. In Besao, Mountain Province, Peter Pas-iwen was murdered by soldiers because of his opposition over the logging project and the military detachment in their village. Elsewhere in Beew, Tubo, Abra, the massacre of the family of a pregnant woman forced several communities to evacuate to Sagada and Besao. Villagers of two communities never returned up to the present. Fathers and grandfathers were beaten and tortured in front of terrified children and their village mates.
YOUNG CASUALTY. A mother shows the injury that her child sustained during a miltary operation led by Capt. Berido of the 623rd Philippine Constabulary in Tubo, Abra in 1983. Photo courtesy of Pepot Ilagan archives
These few cases simply speak of the horrors of the Martial Law in the region. CPA reiterates its position that it is totally unacceptable for a plunderer and human rights violator to be buried at the LNB. Marcos should remain in his hometown in Ilocos Norte. We appeal to President Duterte to listen to the people especially the survivors of Martial Law.***