MILITANT groups vowed the Cordillera Day Celebration slated later this month will be an avenue to air their sentiments against the National Government and private companies operating in the region.
Set in Balbalan, Kalinga, members of the Kalinga Agkaykaysa Salakniban Aglawlaw ken Gameng (Kalasag) will spearhead the celebration of the 33rd Cordillera Day on April 23 to 25.
David Agulin of Kalasag believed the celebration will be a venue for them to be heard on their various concerns against the disrespect to the rights of Indigenous People (IP) and the community, non-protection of the environment and development of private institutions and the government.
Agulin also called on the government to pull out the military in Balbalan due to their alleged violations in the community.
The Kalasag representative added the presence of military in the area have intimidated residents to till their land because they are allegedly being harassed.
"We believe that this is a good venue for us to air our grievances so that we will be heard and so that different issues will be addressed," Agulin said.
Agulin, meanwhile, slammed the entry of a hydroelectric firm in the community and said these has to undergo free prior and informed consent from the indigenous people.
Florence Tabanganay from the Balantoy Farmers Association for Development said their farms in their town are also affected by the improvement of the road right of way.
Tabanganay said around 47 affected families are now suffering due to the road widening after their farms were converted to be part of the road adding they must be compensated from the development since their properties and source of living were already taken away from them. (Ian Jefrey Addatu)