Only through people’s war can the roots of tribal wars be resolved
Read in: Iloco
As the sporadic armed clashes flare up once again between the tribes of Betwagan, Sadanga, Mountain Province and Butbut, Tinglayan, Kalinga, the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) appeal sobriety to both parties and resolve peacefully the long-standing animosity. Likewise, we ardently wish this sincere appeal touch the wisdom of the peace-loving people who has relatives among the contending tribes or neutral tribes or organizations acceptable to both parties to assume the role as mediators. The symbolic warang/peace token should be sent out the earliest by either side to ease the tension. We were informed that last February 23 a brief firefight ensued between the two tribes and erupted again on February 27 and 28. Sadly, these unfortunate incidents happen amidst the COVID-19 health crisis and the worsening hardships our tribes endure. This is throwing our communities, our children and their future to needless sacrifices they don’t deserve. Proceeding mindlessly in this costly misadventure is putting the fate of our people entirely in the playing hands of US-Duterte’s dirty war employing the age-old divide and rule tactic pitting tribe against tribe.
Only the reactionary ruling class of oppressors and exploiters and their imperialist masters stand to benefit from our infighting. They await eagerly on the sidelines to grab and plunder our ancestral lands and resources as both the warring tribes are expected to come out the ultimate losers.
Indisputably, there is a sinister plan of the Duterte regime behind the outbreak of this hostility. And the demolition of the Cordillera Heroes Marker at Sitio Mar-o, Barangay Bugnay last January 13 by the PNP – Kalinga fit into this plan. The lingering tribal discord in this part of the Cordilleras clearly bare the fakery and inutility of the recycled local peace pact brokered by retired Gen. Galvez of the OPAPP in December 2019 and that the publicized KABODONG organization is a plain money-making scheme and pure rubbish. Contradictory to the just, genuine and lasting peace that the Cordillera people yearn for, OPAPP through the CPLA sow the disastrous seeds of disunity among our tribes.
May we remind the leaders and members of both the Betwagan and Butbut tribes that our revolutionary travel as one united Cordillera people along the path towards national freedom and democracy has come a very long way. We fought as one in the Chico struggle to defend our ancestral lands against our common enemy – the US-Marcos dictatorship. Our tribal differences were set aside and we forged our united Cordillera in this heroic fight. We offered our lives and carried our fight with full determination until the destructive Chico dam was scrapped altogether. Today, we look back with honor the shared historic victory, a feat of triumph we highly value because we stood and fought as one and we must carry on.
These days, as we face up to the present social conditions many times direr than the times under the Marcos dictatorial rule, let us keep holding on to the lessons of united struggle against our common enemy.
We have no hope in the current semifeudal and semicolonial system due to the fact that it does not recognize the right of the national minorities to ancestral lands and the right to self-determination, and it is the root cause of conflicts and tribal wars. Only through waging people’s war to seize the political power from the ruling classes and build a socialist state can the entire Filipino people’s aspirations can be fulfilled. It will only be under socialism that we, national minorities can achieve the genuine recognition of our right to self-determination. Instead of tribal wars, waging the people’s war is the only right solution to achieve genuine freedom, peace and democracy for the Cordillera and the whole country. ##