In commemoration of the Araw ng Kagitingan, residents of Butbut, Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga joined hands in restoring the Cordillera heroes monument.
On April 9, the residents mounted back the three panels bearing the faces of Cordillera heroes – Macliing Dulag, Pedro Dungoc, and Lumbaya Gayudan – who led the resistance against the planned construction of the Chico Dam during the Marcos regime.
To recall, unidentified hooded men dismantled the monument in the dead of the night last January.
Albert Leo, principal of Butbut Elementary School, said the Butbut elders have called the dismantling as “paniyaw” or a grave disrespect or dishonor to the dead.
With this, Leo said the Bugnay residents discussed the restoration of the monument and timed it on the Day of Valor.
He said the monument symbolizes the unity of Kalinga and Bontoc indigenous peoples in facing a common enemy, which was the planned Chico River dams in the ‘70s to ‘80s.
Leo said it is a historical reminder that the community dared to fight and to win against oppression and Martial Law, as he added the people of Bugnay have the responsibility to re-install and protect the panels.
Residents also performed a ritual called songa, which seeks to punish those who destroyed the monument and protect it from those planning to destroy the marker in the future.
In a statement, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance lauded the community’s action of restoring the monument.
“We commend the Butbut people for restoring the heroes’ monument in Tinglayan, Kalinga. This is not simply putting up a structure but a symbolic act of honoring the sacrifices of those who fought for our ancestral lands and the legitimacy of our struggle to defend land, life, and honor,” the CPA said.
The monument was built in April 2017 by CPA in honor of the three elders of the Butbut ethnic group, who fought against the project that would have submerged communities and farms in the ‘70s.
Artist Jordan Mangusan and Arch.Vlad Longid collaborated for the sculpture and structural design of the monument.
The CPA said no government funds were used in building the monument, which was supported by the community and families of the heroes. – Ofelia C. Empian