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  • Writer's pictureCordillera Peoples Alliance

CPA: No reason to celebrate Sipat

36 years and a legacy of betrayal, terror, and injustice. There is no reason to celebrate this Sipat. There should only be a resounding call for justice.

Re-read CPA's statement below first released as a response to the Duterte regime declaring it as a holiday. We reiterate the same calls to the Marcos Jr. administration who, so far, has only been extending the fascist and tyrannical rule of the previous Duterte administration. We implore defenders of truth and peace-loving people to join us in battling this culture of impunity and outright disinformation.


Proclamation No. 575 (declaring Sept. 13 as a holiday), a historic blunder and complete travesty of Cordillera history by the Duterte government

Originally posted: September 13, 2018

Today, September 13, was declared a holiday. Why? Not because of super typhoon Ompong but because of a disastrous historical misinformation and revisionism committed by the government in complicity with the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA)!

The Cordillera Peoples Alliance strongly condemns the issuance of President Duterte’s Proclamation No. 575 declaring 13 September 2018 a special (non-working) day in the Cordillera Administrative Region. It is a complete travesty of the history of the struggle of the Cordillera peoples for regionalization and genuine self determination.

Proclamation No. 575 was issued by Duterte’s Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea on September 10, 2018. This was after the Cordillera Regional Development Council (RDC) and Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) passed a resolution requesting the Office of the President “to declare the anniversary of the September 13, 1986 Sipat peace talks as a special non-working holiday.” The resolution came from the proposal of CPLA member Andres Ngao-i.

Hindi karapat-dapat na maideklarang holiday ang September 13. CPA reiterates that the so-called Sipat or Peace Pact in Mt. Data in 1987 was a romanticized ritual of the sipat indigenous bodong system to symbolize unity or “embrace” of Cory Aquino and Conrado Balweg on Cordillera affairs.

Many of the Cordillera people may not even know and understand the 1986 Mt Data Sipat between Cory Aquino and the CPLA. It did not create the regionalization of the Cordillera.

The regionalization was merely formalized by Cory Aquino through Executive Order 220 in 1987, but the movement for “Regionalization” of the Cordillera was already a broad popular work in progress led by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance. When CPLA emerged in 1986, it co-opted this political initiative with government support, then changed its tune of “Cordillera nation” to ride on the popular clamor for Regionalization and Regional Autonomy.

There is no basis to declare September 13 as holiday because the 1986 Mt Data Sipat does not deserve to be commemorated. In fact, it must be condemned.

The so-called Mount Data Sipat has long been exposed as a sham and totally unacceptable, as only binodngan tribes engage in sipat. It emboldened and somehow justified the CPLA in its terrorism against the progressive people’s movement.

Malaking kalokohan ang Proclamation No. 575. The 1986 Mount Data Sipat led to the bloody human rights record and terrorism of the CPLA. CPLA terrorism on the people’s movement in the Cordillera is marked by the murder of Cordillera Peoples Alliance officers Ama Daniel Ngayaan and Romy Gardo in 1987; Robert Estimada and Ferdinand Bragas in 1988; Ayangwa Claver, son of Atty. William “Billy” Claver who was the founding Chairperson of the CPA, in 1990; and Christopher Batan in 1993. There were many other victims in interior villages.

CPLA terrorism targeted progressive Cordillera leaders and activists as well as organizations that criticized narrow indigenist CPLA politics and the opportunism of its leaders.

In 1987, a Movement to Disband and Disarm the CPLA and other Vigilante Groups in the Cordillera called for the disbanding and disarming of the CPLA. The Movement was formed by various peoples’ organizations, including the CPA.

In 1988, the annual Cordillera Day led by the Cordillera Peoples Alliance conducted a Peoples Tribunal on the CPLA, which declared the CPLA guilty of crimes and atrocities of the CPLA against the people. The call to disband the CPLA continued for decades.

Despite these, there was only silence and inaction from the government on the CPLA murders of CPA leaders, the terrorism it unleashed on the progressive Cordillera people’s movement, and peoples’ cry for the disbandment of the CPLA.

Proclamation 575 shows the severity of President Duterte’s tyranny. Duterte is repeating the government’s mistake of coddling the terrorist group CPLA and recognizing the existence of the CPLA, which should have long been disbanded.

But why would the Duterte regime want to put life to the dying and discredited CPLA? It is because the CPLA may be useful for the Duterte regime as instrument to further state terrorism and tyranny in the Cordillera.

For the people’s movement, no amount of revisionism can alter the history of CPLA with its notorious human rights record and terrorism.

Stop historical revisionism! Justice for all victims of the CPLA! Stop the attacks against indigenous peoples and human rights defenders! Defeat the tyranny!


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