“What I learned is that when you are red-tagged, it’s because you’re doing something good. You’re helping the people. The more we should embrace the masses and not isolate ourselves… There’s an expression in the Cordillera. Payt latta. That means fight until the end. And that’s what I plan on doing, with every last ounce of my fiber in my body. Payt latta!” – Brandon Lee
Today marks four years since the attempted assassination attempt on Brandon Lee’s life by the Philippine military. And while the government remains silent, the people’s movement continues to cry for justice for Brandon and all peoples in the Cordillera.
The Cordillera region continues to be under economic, environmental, and political attack. Over 200 mining and 100 energy project applications threaten the land and livelihood of Indigenous and peasant communities. And when the masses fight back, they are met with violence, such as the phosphorus bombing of Kalinga and the enforced disappearance of Dexter Capuyan and Bazoo de Jesus, who remain missing to this day.
Most recently four leaders of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) — Windel Bolinget, Jennifer Awingan, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, and Steve Tauli — were designated as “terrorists” under the Anti-Terrorism Act, once again confirming widespread fears that the law would be weaponized against activists.
The United States has enabled the Philippine government’s counterinsurgency program against activists, from providing direct security aid, to military training, to arms sales. Shamelessly, the U.S. will establish one of its newest bases in Camp Melchor de la Cruz in Gamu, Isabella. This is where the 54th Infantry Battalion, the unit responsible for the attack on Brandon’s life, reports to.
We call on Filipinos and allies alike to draw bravery from Brandon and the peoples of the Cordillera, who continue their activism work to this day. We demand the U.S. government pass the Philippine Human Rights Act and stop enabling war crimes abroad. We invite Filipinos and allies alike to join BAYAN USA and the Justice for Brandon Lee Coalition to continue building the mass movement that will surely uproot the problems facing the masses of the Cordillera and the Philippines as a whole. Let us show those in power that we will fight to the end, and that in the end we will be victorious.
Justice for Brandon Lee! Defend Cordillera! End war crimes in the Philippines!
Donate to the campaign: tinyurl.com/bayandonate23