Theme: “SUMKAD! Courageously advance the struggle for land, life and honor”

We at the Center for Development Programs in the Cordillera (CDPC) is in solidarity with the Cordillera mass movement in the celebration of the 40th Peoples’ Cordillera Day 2024. This occasion is a commemoration of the courageous acts of Cordillera indigenous communities and leaders who successfully struggled against destructive projects imposed by then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr.  – the 1970s infamous Chico Dam project struggle by the Kalinga and Bontok people and the opposition of the Tinggian people of Abra against the Cellophil Resources Corporation. Macli-ing Dulag, a Kalinga chieftain, was killed by military forces on April 24, 1980 with the intent to suppress the peoples’ rejection of the dam projects. But on the contrary, his death had further sparked the resistance of the people which eventually put a stop to the Chico Dam project.

CDPC was born out from this period of struggle, a development non-government organization that seeks to address the Cordillera peoples’ issues of economic marginalization and development aggression such as destructive mining and energy projects. CDPC has been continuous shaped by the Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination, their right to chart their own economic, social, cultural, and political development.

For decades, the Cordillera people have struggled against the exploitation of their natural resources, threats of destructive projects and militarization. It is a continuing struggle up until today.

As of December 2023, the Department of Energy awarded 100 hydropower projects in the Cordillera with a total projected capacity of 4,900MW; with 21 facilities in operation with operating capacity at 762MW.   Kalinga is host to one operational dam with 1.01MW capacity (DPJ in Bulanao, Tabuk) with 18 awarded projects  with total projected capacity of 619MW.  Eight (8) dam projects are within the Chico river, five (5) along the Pasil river, four (4) along the Saltan river and two (2) along the Calaoan river. Pasil, Saltan and Calaoan rivers drain into the Chico river.

CDPC takes part in supporting the community struggle against these projects the people deem as destructive to their economic, socio-cultural and political lives as collective people, in addition to potential catastrophic impact to downstream communities in the event of opening of dams’ floodgates and worst with dam collapse. On this celebration of Cordillera Day, we will spearhead a training workshop that will teach community members on community mapping and geonarratives which they may use for community-based planning and resource management.   This will equip them with necessary skills in creating their own resource maps highlighting the possible impacts of the dam projects to their communities. We aim to support them in increasing their capacities and help strengthen their defense and assertion of their right to self-determined development.

Today is a reminder of the history of struggle of the Cordillera people, stories of courage hoping to serve as inspiration in continuing to advance the struggle for land, life, and honor.