February 9, 2023

A religious order has expressed reservation about the government’s plan to dismantle the marker of three indigenous peoples’ leaders in Tinglayan, Kalinga.

The Episcopal Church in the Philippines said it was saddened by the attempt to remove the memorial marker installed on a section of a national road traversing Tinglayan that honors the heroism of Macli-ing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc, and Lumbaya Gayudan.

“We are saddened by selective acts that not only deny certain historical realities but also seek to alter the same for some political gain,” the letter stated.

The congregation is reacting to an earlier request for the sangguniang panlalawigan of Kalinga to pass an ordinance for the removal of the marker honoring the three IP leaders, considered local heroes for standing against the Chico Dam project and for protecting their people’s ancestral land against destruction during the Marcos regime.

In seeking for the passage of an ordinance to dismantle the memorial marker, the Kalinga Provincial Police Office Advisory Council has cited as basis the report of the Upper Kalinga District Engineering Office that the monument has encroached on the national road’s right-of-way as it is situated 4.10 meters the road’s centerline.

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance has supervised the instillation of the monument along the Mountain Province Boundary-Calanan-Pinukpuk-Abbut Road-Bugnay Section in Tinglayan.

The Episcopal Church, however, said the marker has a deeper significance more than the fact that it stands on a road right-of way.

“We recognize that any memorial marker does have multifaceted implications. Yet, historical markers are reminders of historical events of human forms of struggles, be they pleasant of unpleasant to those who watch those markers,” the letter stated.

“Behind the historical events are the lessons and values of life from which, future generations must learn and discern.”

The Episcopal Church, through the Episcopal Diocese of Northern Philippines, is one of the institutions that stood with Dulag in opposing the proposed construction of the Chico River Dam project.

“Our opposition sprang out of the indigenous perspective of preserving the land. It is a perspective linked indelibly to life and living and the teaching of the church for us to protect God’s creation in the way earlier generations were concerned of the welfare of those who follow them. This indigenous people perspective is what the memorial marker represents,” the letter stated. – Jane B. Cadalig