“Fifty years of the Cordillera people’s struggle come alive in the pages of this book. The sacrifices and great examples of our Cordillera heroes are our inspiration, as we pursue the continuing people’s movement for land, life, self determination, and the common good.” This blurb captured what the book Cordillera Heroes stands for. Published by the Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), the book contains life stories of 23 men and women in the Cordillera region, Philippines who gave up their lives in the pursuit of social justice.
Around 300 people raptly listened during the book launching held at University of the Philippines in Baguio City on August 18, 2014. Some of the writers read excerpts of their articles. “[LakayPascualPocding] was regarded as a leader who would lead the fight of the indigenous peoples because of his wisdom and strength. The ShalupiripSantahnay Indigenous Peoples Movement was formed out of unity of the Ibalois to fight the San Roque Dam, and to defend their ancestral lands, they knew that the dam project would not benefit them, but will only destroy their lives and trample upon their rights as indigenous people,” read Day Caluza, one of the authors.
Relatives of the heroes were also honored and touched to receive their copies. “I am thankful that this book has honored my father as a hero,” said Robert Macliing, son of popular martyr of the anti-Chico dam resistance during the 1970s, MacliingDulag.
“It has been almost 10 years since Macoy [Markus Bangit] was killed, yet until now it seems like it was only yesterday. Thank you for honoring him,” AgustinaBangit, wife of Macoy, tearfully said.
“This book shows the real people and faces behind what we know as the ‘Cordillera mass movement’,” said Jill Cariño, co-editor of the book, together with LuchieMaranan. “It is about time that more people get to know those who valiantly sacrificed their lives for the struggle.”
According to Joan Carling,the Secretary General of AIPP who is from the Cordillera,“ This book is a dream come true in paying tribute to the Cordillera martyrs and in ensuring that their stories are transmitted to inspire others to follow their footsteps till we achieve our common vision of equality, peace, justice and dignity for all”
Copies of the book are available at the Cordillera Peoples Alliance office, Baguio City and at the AIPP Resource Center, Indigenous Asia House, Chiang Mai, Thailand.***