THE Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) told the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) that the hero’s monuments in Kalinga is not a road obstruction as community consent was given before it was constructed.
Windel Bolinget of CPA said the monument, constructed along the national road (Mt. Province boundary-Calanan-Pinukpuk-Abbut Road) particularly Bugnay section in Tinglayan, is situated just above a ravine.
“It did not encroach because it was decided by the communities and is situated well within the ancestral domain of the Butbut tribe. To demolish the monument is 'paniyaw' or taboo in the traditions of the i-Kalinga. It would be comparable to defiling their very graves, dishonoring their legacies and allowing a sacrilegious act to be committed,” Bolinget said.
Bolinget added there are more urgent problems on the ground at this time of pandemic, such as health and economic crisis, that need to be addressed and resolved, including the ongoing tribal conflict between the Bugnay and Betwagan tribes.
The CPA said the establishment of the monument was jointly approved by the families of Macli-ing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc Sr. and Lumbaya Gayudan, and members of the Bugnay and Butbut Tribes. It stands within the ancestral domain of the Butbut tribe.
CPA, together with members of the Butbut Tribe, wrote Engineer Khadaffy Tanggol, DPWH-CAR director, and appealed to stop the impending demolition of the monument which serves as a reminder commemorating the Anti-Chico Dam Struggle.
CPA said there were no permits obtained from any government agency as consent of the community was acquired for the construction of the monument which is within the ancestral domain of the Butbut tribe.
“The Provincial Development and Physical Framework Plan of Kalinga province for 2017-2022 recognized Macli-ing Dulag as a local hero. Yet Upper Kalinga Development Engineering Office of DPWH-Kalinga wants his monument along with other heroes demolished on mere basis of encroachment and obstruction but these are simply excessive justification to desecrate the heroes’ monument and legacies, the monument was built more than three years ago yet it is only now that the DPWH is raising this issue,” Bolinget said.
The establishment of a monument honoring Dulag was first requested by Francis Macli-ing, one of the sons of Dulag, to the CPA in 2000.
The monument was built by CPA in 2017, together with the families of the heroes and martyrs, as well as people of Bugnay, to honor the legacy of heroes and martyrs who successfully opposed the Marcos Dictatorship’s Chico Dams Project that would have brought massive destruction to the communities, culture and environment in Kalinga and Mountain Province.
Meanwhile, intervention of DPWH Secretary Mark Villar has been sought to halt the impending demolition of the Bugnay hero’s monument in Kalinga.
The appeal was made by retired professor of the University of the Philippines-Baguio, Dr. Rowena Boquiren, through a letter.
“I appeal to your good office, as historian and heritage conservationist, to stop the October 15, 2020 planned dismantling of the people's monument in Bugnay, Tinglayan in Kalinga that signifies the heroism of Ama Macli-ing Dulag and two other local people who struggled to save many villages in Kalinga and Mountain Province from being submerged by planned the Chico River Dams in the 1970s to 1980’s,” Boquiren said.
She also asked the DPWH for fairness and compassion and not to execute plans of the Regional Police Office-Cordillera under Brigadier General R'win Paglinawan, which “takes to belittle the internationally recognized heroism of Indigenous Peoples to defend their rights. Red-tagging and terrorism are not useful actions if we Filipinos are to be united especially in this trying time when we are in a pandemic. Open and balanced dialogues amongst diverse stakeholders are what are needed.”
Boquiren also asked Villar, in recognition of the International Month for Indigenous Peoples, to "please look into this ill intent of the police to destroy a symbol of IPs' heroic defense of their land, resources and life."
"There may be options that stakeholders can arrive at instead of the way that the DPWH in Kalinga handles this serious matter with only a week for the symbolic people's monument to be dismantled by the unit under your good office," she said.