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MESSAGE OF SOLIDARITY TO THE PEOPLE OF CORDILLERA
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 24th CORDILLERA DAY CELEBRATION


By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chairperson, International Coordinating Committee
International League of Peoples' Struggle
April 24, 2008

On behalf of the International League of Peoples' Struggle (ILPS), I wish to convey warmest greetings of solidarity to the people of Cordillera, to the Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA), Kakailian Salakniban Tay Amin a Nagtaudan (KASTAN) and the Baay-Licuan Takderan Omnu a Karbengan (BALITOK), to the delegations from all chapters of the Cordillera People's Alliance and to all the guests from within the Philippines and abroad on the occasion of the 24th Cordillera Day Celebration.

We join you in celebrating a day of great significance to the people of Cordillera, the Philippines and the whole world. This is a day consecrated by the martyrdom of Ama Macliing Dulag on April 24, 1980 and by all pertinent sacrifices and struggles of the Cordillera people against the schemes of the imperialists and the neocolonial puppet state to violate the people's right to ancestral domain and self-determination and plunder the natural resources of the Cordillera.

We continue to celebrate and be inspired by the victories of the people of Cordillera against the World Bank-funded Chico River Basin Hydroelectric Dam Project and the Cellophil Resources Corporation, two super-exploitative projects of the Marcos fascist dictatorship and its imperialist masters. We have kept on renewing our resolve and reinvigorating our efforts to fight every attempt of the imperialists and the puppets to oppress and exploit the people of Cordillera, rob them of their natural resources and destroy their environment.

We salute the CPA, its chapters, allied organizations and friends for their firm commitment, their wisdom and courage in celebrating Cordillera Day 2008 by making the clarion call, "Resist Mining Plunder and State Terrorism" and by gathering exactly in an area where the local and foreign mining giants are feverishly engaged in mining operations and explorations and where several battalions of the reactionary army are deployed to secure the mining companies and coerce the indigenous people and the celebrants of Cordillera Day.

There is a close, necessary and interactive relationship between mining plunder and state terrorism. It is the old familiar relationship between exploitation and oppression. The mining giants covet gold, copper, silver, magnetite and other mineral resources from 1.2 million hectares or 66 per cent of the Cordillera. Thus, under Oplan Bantay Laya, several army brigades and mobile brigades of the national police have been deployed all over the Cordillera.

The escalating level of mining plunder in the Cordillera and all over the Philippines is a manifestation of the Arroyo regime's subservience to the US policy of "neoliberal globalization". The regime has engaged in unbridled foreign and local borrowing to cover trade and budgetary deficits, gloss over the economic depression and bankruptcies and conjure the false illusion of economic growth in a number of years. It has given free reign to the foreign takeover of businesses, the privatization of state assets, the plunder of natural resources and the misuse of remittances of overseas contract workers as methods of satisfying the foreign monopolies and banks.

The escalating level of state terrorism and human rights violations is a manifestation of the Arroyo regime's subservience to the US policy of global terrorism and suppressing anti-imperialist states, national liberation movements and progressive organizations and leaders under the pretext of combating terrorism. The US global war of terror involves manufacturing and monopolizing weapons of mass destruction, unleashing wars of aggression and promoting state terrorism as a policy of imperialist and puppet states. The Arroyo regime has adopted and implemented state terrorism as a way of getting military assistance from the US, intimidating and attacking the opposition and seeking to keep its power despite its illegitimacy.

Nevertheless, the broad masses of the Filipino people and the broad united front of organized legal forces are striving to oust the Arroyo regime through the exercise of their democratic right to speak and assemble. They are fed up with the regime's puppetry to imperialist interests, extreme corruption, fraudulent elections and gross human rights violations. If the reeking corruption scandals of the regime are not enough to cause the ouster of the regime, then the rapid deterioration of the already depressed economy, the abrupt fall of employment and income and the soaring prices of fuel, food and other basic necessities can further push the people to overthrow the regime.

If despite the people's outrage the regime can still manage to stay in power through the use of brute military force, then the armed revolutionary movement of the people along the national and democratic line shines as the best hope of the people for overthrowing not only the Arroyo regime but the entire semi-colonial and semi-feudal ruling system. Oplan Bantay Laya has been a complete failure in the attempt to suppress the people's war. It has only served to incite the people to wage armed revolution.

We urge you, the people of Cordillera, to strengthen all your forces and intensify all your efforts to uphold, defend and advance your rights to ancestral domain and self-determination, democracy, social justice, self-reliant development, a healthy environment and the conservation of natural resources for future development independent of the imperialists and reactionaries. We support your struggle against exploitation and oppression in the most comprehensive and profound way. We stand with you against the mining plunder and state terrorism.

Your struggle is of far reaching significance and consequence. It is inspirational and tangibly relevant to the struggle of the entire Filipino people and the people of the world for national and social liberation against imperialism and reaction. We invite your organizations to send delegations to the forthcoming Third International Assembly of the ILPS in Hong Kong in June in order to share your experiences and concerns and propose resolutions and definite courses of action for carrying forward your struggle in concert with the struggles of the people of the world. ###

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