Amid the unabated political repression, killings and human rights violations of the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), the militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) has successfully carried out its 9th Regional Congress from October 21-23, 2006 in Baguio City, with a membership that expanded to some 200 member organizations from 130 since its last Congress in August 2001.
BY ABIGAIL T. BENGWAYAN
Posted by Bulatlat.com
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms. north of Manila) – Amid the unabated political repression, killings and human rights violations of the administration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (GMA), the militant Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) has successfully carried out its 9th Regional Congress from October 21-23, 2006 in Baguio City, with a membership that expanded to some 200 member organizations from 130 since its last Congress in August 2001.
CPA secretary-general Windel Bolinget said, “The Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo government’s blatant violation of people’s rights served to reinvigorate and step up the Cordillera peoples’ movement. This significant growth in CPA’s membership from 2001 to 2006, which is also the period of the GMA presidency, shows that the people’s movement does not allow oppressive and fascist regimes to further wreak havoc in the Cordillera homeland, which is clearly manifested in Cordillera history.” He added that the Arroyo regime is the worst compared to past administrations.
He also said that the Arroyo administration’s anti-people policies have pushed Cordillera indigenous peoples to the limit.
“Despite the regime’s state terrorism, indigenous communities have closed ranks with the CPA for the defense of land, life, and resources, and resisted the terror and fascism of this regime,” he said.
In 2002, the GMA regime implemented Oplan Bantay Laya (Operation Freedom Watch) to “neutralize” the “enemies of the State,” guised as an anti-insurgency campaign. This operational plan has to date claimed the lives of 764 individuals – a considerable number of whom are from people’s organizations and progressive party lists nationwide. Of these, 96 are leaders from indigenous communities.
In the Cordillera, the CPA, its leaders and members, were not spared from this “state terrorism,” a CPA statement read. Despite this, however, the CPA’s membership has grown from the 130 member organizations it had in 2001 to some 200 member organizations this year.
“Drawing lessons from its decades of struggle and experience, the CPA will continue to advance the people’s rights and welfare, as its historical mission for self determination and national democracy,” said Beverly Longid, newly elected CPA chairperson.
Some 250 delegates from the region’s six provinces (Benguet, Abra, Ifugao, Kalinga, Apayao, Mountain Province), regional sectoral alliances of human rights advocates, women, youth, workers, peasants, elders, and cultural workers; and from the national capital of Manila attended the two-day congress capped by a march-rally on Oct. 23, to commemorate this year’s Peasant Month. Northern Dispatch / Posted by (Bulatlat.com)