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Monday, May 8, 2017

The Great Macli-ing Dulag - The Cordilleran hero who fought for his people

The man who fought for his land and his people against a giant who wanted to destroy their way of life. The man who despite not having a formal education was able to unite warring tribes to oppose a dam project that will ultimately wipe out their entire village. The man who was not afraid to die on behalf of his people's right to preserve their culture and tradition.

He is Macli-ing Dulag a rice farmer and a caminero (road worker) of sitio Bugnay in Tinglayan, Kalinga - the defender of the Kalingas, who strongly and relentlessly voiced out his people's opposition to the Chico Dam project during the early 80s.

His struggle against the Chico River Dam Project of the Marcos regime had led him to his untimely death on the night of April 24th, 1980.

Almost 35 years have passed since the brutal slaying of Dulag, the people of Cordillera will not easily forget his heroism.

Whenever the issue of the construction of the Chico Dam Project comes to the discussions, the Macli-ing Dulag story emerge.

The lesson that great Macli-ing Dulag had left to the Cordilleran generation of today is the courage and defiance of the Igorot people who are not afraid to die in preserving their most valuable culture and land.

In her book titled, Macli-ing Dulag - KALINGA CHIEF DEFENDER OF THE CORDILLERA, author Ceres P. Doyo described Macli-ing as "unflinching in his struggle" against the government plan of constructing a 1,010 megawatts dam project covering the Chico River.


Macli-ing was killed by government forces in an attempt to silence him and push through with the proposed project funded by the World Bank.

Macli-ing despite not having a formal education knew the facts that the project will eventually displace thousands of his people from their ancestral lands and destroy an estimated more than P10 million worth of fruits, vegetables, and grains.

Today, the people of Cordillera mark April 24th "Cordillera Day" to commemorate the death of Macli-ing Dulag and the struggle of the Kalinga people for self-determination and the defense of the right to land.

The newly constructed Museo Kordilyera in the University of the Philippines - Baguio (UPB) compound has a display of Dulag's story and also a piece of wood (lawanit) riddled with bullet holes believed to be a remain of Dulag's house door  shot multiple times by the Philippine army that led to the killing of Dulag.

If one is forgetting the history of Macli-ing Dulag and the Kalinga people, this quote by Dulag himself as penned by MA. Ceres P. Doyo in her book Macli-ing Dulag - KALINGA CHIEF DEFENDER OF THE CORDILLERA is worth remembering.
You ask if we own the land and mock as saying, 'Where is your title?, When we ask the meaning of your words you answer with taunting arrogance, 'Where are the documents to prove that you own the land?' Titles? Documents? Proof of ownership. Such arrogance to speak of owning the land when we instead are woned by it. How can you own that which will outlive you.? Only the race owns the land because the race lives forever. - Macli-ing Dulag. 
Indeed, a hero. Macli-ing will remain in the hearts of the people of Cordillera.
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