Once more, bullets silenced another small voice.
The ambush of the family of Dr. Constancio “Chandu” Claver, in the morning of July 31, 2006 near the Police Headquarters in Bulanao, Tabuk, Kalinga is repugnant. Chandu, the “people’s doctor” was seriously wounded, and Alice, his wife was killed, and their daughter is traumatized. Such atrocity has never been so real in the Cordillera until these recent months.
We, in the Cordillera have always cherished freedom and held it as essential to full humanity. This unflinching belief has helped us maintain our dignity all these years of government neglect, social marginalization, political isolation and economic deprivation. We fought for it.
We take pride in the fact that it shaped the ethos that binds the indigenous people of the Cordillera and links them with other indigenous peoples here and abroad. The ambush of the Clavers and of Marcus Bangit before them is alien to the culture of the people in the Cordillera.
We condemn the ambush of Dr. Claver’s family. The assault of unarmed civilians in public places is a manifestation of a rotten social order. It can only be motivated by a desire to perpetuate fear, subservience and maintain a state of repression.
The killings are deliberate and systematic, planned and executed only by those who have the means and capacity to undertake such atrocity with impunity and sophistication.
We believe that peace and justice is possible if the reasons for dissent and civil unrest are sincerely heard and addressed by those who hold power. At the core of democracy is a government that submits to the processes so painstakingly instituted to protect and ensure the welfare and interest of the majority of the citizens over and above all else.
We deplore the killing of people simply because of their political beliefs. This horrendous decimation of perceived “leftists” sends a chilling message that democracy is interpreted only by those who wield power. People in the Cordillera have demonstrated in the past that we cannot be cowed by any power to speak peace and surrender our freedom.
Wherefore, we now stand firmly united and demand that Government muster the political will and sincerity to put an immediate stop to these killings, find the perpetrators and mete justice.
We affix our signatures voluntarily and with fervent prayers and hope that political decency and moral uprightness will sweep clean the corridors of powers in this country. Let that small voice reverberate to the far reaches of this country and across the seas to swell the crescendo of the cry for justice and peace.
Sign Cordillera Petition at www.sagada.net