June 21, 2024

Indigenous peoples of Butbut in Kalinga have lauded the Bugnay people for the recent restoration of the Anti-Chico River Dam struggle heroes’ monument in Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga.

In a statement, the punong barangays and Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representatives of of Buscalan and Butbut Proper have signed a statement on April 16 commending the people of Bugnay. 

“Brothers and sisters of Bugnay, we stand with you in yet another stance where you have forged unity and courage,” reads the statement.

On April 9, Bugnay residents mounted back the three panels bearing the faces of Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc, and Lumbaya Gayudan, who led the strong resistance against the planned building of a dam along the Chico River in the ‘70s.

The Butbut elders maintained their allegations that it was the members of the police that were seen dismantling the monument panels on Jan. 4 this year. They said it reminded them of the night when stateforces led by Lt. Leodegario Adalem fired on two houses killing Dulag in his sleep and wounding Dungoc. 

“The greatest legacy of Ama Macli-ing, Ama Pedro, and Ama Lumbaya, aside from being among the leaders of the resistance that save our villages, is the realization through their sacrifice and respect should be accorded to us as a people – to our way of life and land in which we live. We believe in paniyaw. It was paniyaw that made the ‘tribes’ rise against the Chico River basin development project that would have submerged whole villages,” the elders said.

They added it is also paniyaw (disrespect) to remain silent when the monument that immortalizes the heroism of those who sacrificed their lives for the community is desecrated.

Last year, the Upper Kalinga District Engineering Office reported the monument as an obstruction that encroached on the road right-of-way of Bugnay, thus it called for its voluntary removal or they will be forced to demolish the structure.  

The DPWH-UKDEO’s notice came after the Kalinga PNP Advisory Council has recommended the demolition of the structure for allegedly bearing anti-government inscriptions.

But the community maintained  the monument, built on April 2017 by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance with support of community residents without government funds, does not encroach on the national road.

Kalinga Provincial Police Director Col. Davy Vicente Limmong also denied police involvement in the incident and ordered the Tinglayan Municipal Police Station to investigate the incident. The police have yet to issue a progress report.

During the restoration, the songa ritual was performed, which seeks to punish those who destroyed the monument and protect it from those planning to destroy it in the future. – Ofelia C. Empian