On the 41st death anniversary and martyrdom of Macli-ing Dulag, Cordillera hero, former martial law victims under the human rights group Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) lambasted the Duterte administration for its “desperate efforts to twist history and for its continuous attacks against the Filipino people.”
“Today, we honor the bravery and leadership of Macli-ing Dulag against the evil schemes of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos. Together with the indigenous communities of Cordillera, he had shown that a fascist dictator is no match against the united people fighting for their rights,” said Danilo dela Fuente, the group’s vice chairperson.
Dulag led the collective opposition of the Kalinga and Bontoc tribes against the Chico River Dam Project, a flagship project of the Marcos dictatorship during Martial Law. Estimates suggested that had it been built, it would have destroyed 1,400 square kilometers of rice terraces, communal forests and sacred burial grounds and displaced through flooding an estimated 100,000 people living along the river. He was assassinated on April 24, 1980 by military elements from the 4th Infantry Division, and his murder was considered as a watershed moment in the coverage of killings and other human rights violations under the Martial Law.
However, last January 7, the heroes monument erected by the people was desecrated by the Kalinga Philippine National Police forces. It was later put up again by the people of Kalinga on the Day of Valor, April 9.
“By putting up the heroes’ monument again, the people of Cordillera victoriously frustrated Duterte’s futile attempt to revise history and erase the indigenous people’s rich history of courage against the atrocities during Martial Law. His legacy – resisting fascism and uniting the people to assert their rights – lives on to this day, “ Dela Fuente added.
The SELDA official also noted that such legacy is also reflected in the community pantries set up all over the country, and is also feared by another fascist regime under Rodrigo Duterte.
“The resistance against the Chico Dam Project and the creation of different community pantries have both shown the Filipino people’s indomitable spirit in relation to their economic rights and needs, albeit in different forms. The fascist Marcosian tyrant Rodrigo Duterte, in his desperate attempt to hide his political impotence, is currently using his minions in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to harass these organizers through spreading malicious lies and blatant red-tagging. However, such smear campaigns expose the administration’s inefficacy to address the pandemic and the economic slump and strengthen the people’s clamor for genuine social change,” he stressed.
“As we remember Dulag’s martyrdom and the Cordillera people’s heroic resistance against the Marcos’ martial rule, we are also reminded to continuously resist all forms of historical lies, tyranny and fascism. We vow to strengthen our assertion of people’s rights, and continue in demanding for accountability and justice in all forms. We will never forget,” he ended.