By CORDILLERA PEOPLE’S DEMOCRATIC FRONT
The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) salutes the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) on the occasion of its 42nd anniversary on 24 April 2015, which is also the 30th commemoration of Cordillera Day.
The NDFP is the widest and most consolidated united front of revolutionary organizations seeking to overthrow the oppressive semi-colonial and semi-feudal system and replace this with a genuinely sovereign and democratic Philippine society with a socialist perspective.
The CPDF is honored to be among the allied organizations of the NDFP, it being the NDFP formation in the Cordillera region, with a particular focus on the problems which the indigenous peoples here face.
The defining characteristic of the Cordillera region is that this is the only region in the country where the majority of the population are indigenous peoples,
known collectively as the Igorots. The revolutionary program should address their specific interests and aspirations as indigenous peoples and national minorities, at the same time that it should also address their common demands with the democratic classes and sectors in Philippine society, to which they also belong.
The organizational framework for such a revolutionary program is the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front. The indigenous peoples of the Cordillera are victims of national oppression with the following forms:
- non-recognition and violation of the indigenous peoples prior rights to their ancestral lands;
- political misrepresentation and the non-recognition of viable indigenous socio-political structures and processes;
- historical government neglect;
- commercialization and vulgarization of indigenous culture; and
- institutionalized discrimination.
National oppression means inequality and the denial of the right of indigenous peoples to freely pursue their own economic, political and cultural development at the pace and in the direction they should freely determine. These are problems bequeathed by our region’s and our nation’s colonial history. Indigenous peoples continue to experience these problems because of the perpetuation of imperialist, big comprador and landlord elite rule over the entire country.
While the majority of the regions’s population are indigenous peoples, there is also a significant migrant population, particularly in the urban and town centers. The people of the Cordillera, both indigenous and non-‐indigenous, belong to the democratic classes and sectors of Philippine society, with a very small minority belonging to the ruling classes. They are among the oppressed and exploited majority; the workers and semi-‐proletariat; farmers and agricultural workers; youth and students; women; teachers, church workers, government employees and other professionals; and entrepreneurs. The struggle they wage in the Cordillera is part of the unfinished Philippine revolution.
The ongoing historical process has already resulted in a high degree of integration of the Cordillera indigenous peoples with the rest of the Filipino people. The problems they face are linked with those that confront the entire Filipino nation. The Cordillera region cannot be liberated unless the entire nation itself is freed of imperialism, feudalism, and bureaucrat capitalism. These three basic problems are shared by all Filipinos, including those who live in the Cordillera.
As the NDF formation in the Cordillera, the Cordillera People’s Democratic Front is a revolutionary territorial united front whose program addresses the particular demands of the Cordillera’s indigenous peoples for self-‐determination and equality, and the general demands of the democratic classes and sectors for national freedom and democracy.
As such, the CPDF particularizes the NDF program to the concrete conditions of the region, specifically to the reality that the indigenous peoples are the majority here, and that their particular interests should therefore be significantly reflected in the revolutionary program. The CPDF joins the allied organizations in the NDF in striving to realize the national democratic program with a socialist perspective, while ensuring that the regional implementation of this program is appropriate to local conditions.
As a united front organization, the CPDF is an alliance of the revolutionary mass organizations which represent the interests of the democratic classes, sectors and peoples in the Cordillera. These revolutionary mass organizations may be regional chapters of national organizations allied with the NDF, or local/regional organizations based on certain specific particularities of the region. While resolutely building unity and cooperation on the CPDF program which binds the allied organizations, the independence and initiative of the allied organizations shall be recognized. Decision-‐making shall be consensual,
consultative and cooperative.
The CPDF program for the recognition of the right to self-‐determination of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera is the establishment of the Cordillera People’s Revolutionary Autonomous Government (CPRAG) covering traditional territories of the Cordillera indigenous peoples in the Cordillera mountain range. CPRAG shall be an integral part of the sovereign People’s Democratic Republic of the Philippines which will be established upon final victory of the people’s war. Already, local Organs of Democratic Political Power or local autonomous revolutionary governments of the masses are emerging.
These organs have been established in areas where the New People’s Army is relatively strong, where there are people’s militia units, where there is a stable machinery of CPDF activists and mass organizations, and where reactionary authority has been considerably undermined. Completion and broad recognition will only be possible when the people’s war being waged by Filipinos as a whole shall have been won.