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The Regional Development Council (RDC) – CAR joined the people of Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga as they commemorate the 36th Macli-ing Dulag and Pedro Dungoc Memorials and Bodong Festival on April 24, 2016. With the theme “Bodong Festival towards Cordillera Autonomy,” the celebration aimed to commemorate Macli- ing and Dungoc’s martyrdom, and to rebuild and strengthen the tribal unity in the pursuit for an Autonomous Cordillera.
Central to this celebration was the role of Apo Macli- ing, with Apo Dungoc, in leading the opposition against the establishment of the World Bank funded Chico Dam Project, which could have submerged parts of Bontoc and Kalinga.
One of the guests, NCIP Kalinga Director Natividad Sugguiyao,said that the struggle of Macli-ing was among the successful IP struggles against development aggression in the whole world. She said that his courageous act has inspired the Butbut tribesmen and the rest of the Cordilleras to assert their rights to their ancestral land.
RDC- CAR Vice Chairman and NEDA- CAR Director Milagros A. Rimando served as the keynote and autonomy speaker. She extended her gratitude for the invitation and lauded the bravery of Kalinga’s heroes, Macli-ing and Dungoc.“To us, they are not just defenders of our land but rather, the embodiment of our cultural identity”, Rimando added.She emphasized that the fruit of the struggle and sacrifices of our brothers and sisters, through the leadership of Ama Macli- ing and Ama Dungoc, led to the establishment of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), and allowed the people in the region to continue asserting their right to self- determination.
Rimando also highlighted the renewed pursuit of the RDC- CAR for regional autonomy in the region to attain development.
“Up to this time, the region continues to be disadvantaged by external factors such as national laws, policies and programs that are designed, and undertaken in conformance to national standards. The RDC- CAR believes that regional autonomous government can speed up our development and correct policies that will best suit the region’s unique geography, topography and our unique culture as indigenous people,” Rimando explained.
It can be recalled that some indigenous groups are pushing for April 24 to be the Cordillera Day. Through this event, the people of Bugnay have agreed that instead of celebrating it as Cordillera Day, it shall be remembered as the commemoration of the death of Macli- ing and Dungoc.
Today, the names of Macli- ing and Dungoc are etched in the Bantayog ng mga Bayani, with names of honored martyrs and heroes who fought, suffered, and offered their lives for freedom, justice and truth.
The activity was an initiative of the people of Bugnay and supported by the RDC- CAR thru its Social Preparation of CAR in to an Autonomous Region (SPCAR) Program.
Maridel P. Langbis, SPCAR