STATEMENT | On the Commemoration of the National Heroes’ Day
Panaghiusa Philippine Network joins the Filipino people in commemorating #NationalHeroesDay.
We pay tribute and express our highest salute to our ancestors who struggled and sacrificed for the country's independence against centuries of colonial oppression.
We honor our modern-day heroes, including medical frontliners, farmers, fisherfolk, teachers, workers, public servants, lawyers, journalists, indigenous leaders, and the rest who have dedicated their lives to fighting corruption, state incompetence and neglect, self-serving political interests, human rights violations, foreign interventions that have exacerbated the country's health, economic, and political crises.
We raise our fists and honor our indigenous leaders and communities that persist in protecting the lands, forests, rivers, life, and culture, against destructive foreign mega-projects, criminalization, and extensive human rights violations, neglect, misrepresentation, and bastardization, despite unrelenting threats, militarization and bombings, terrorist labeling, red-tagging, extra-judicial killings, trumped-up charges, and mass arrests.
We live by the life and words of staunch Cordilleran leader and Martial Law martyr Macli-ing Dulag, "What is the most precious thing to a man? Life. If life is threatened, what ought a man do? Fight! This he must do; otherwise, he is dishonored. That will be worse than death. If we do not fight and the dams push through, we die anyway. If we fight, we die honorably. Thus I exhort you all then, Kayaw (all-out peoples struggle);"
And by the words of Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, the first and only female chieftain in the history of the Manobo people who led against the intrusion of Alcantara and Sons, "We are not afraid. We are prepared to die. We will not give up our land. We can't afford to see our children suffer in the future. We will not surrender our ancestral land to outsiders."
We persist in honor of our fallen and those who continue, in honor of our Filipino people subjugated by the current system and those who struggle for a humane and genuinely liberated Philippines.###