Cordillera Day is all about the continuing struggle of communities in the Cordilleras to preserve patrimony. It is all about affirming the inseparable relationship of life and the land and the responsibility of the present to future generations. This is neither the language of foreign mining transnational corporations nor of their local lackeys. This is neither the language of government with its Mining Act of 1995 nor of business who understand economy solely as profit-making.
Rightfully, Cordillera Day is a celebration of our being indigenous peoples. It is a celebration of a way of life that places premium on the dignity of each person and the importance of community. This is not a call to return to the olden ways. Rather, it is a call to affirm the values of life and community in a world being despoiled by covetousness and greed for profit. The assertion of self-determination is a statement in favour of communities living peacefully and justly on a local, national and international scale.
We celebrate Cordillera Day bearing in mind also that this year is mid-term elections. Let us encourage each other to go for candidates and party lists that have principled platforms and not those with re-cycled and tired rhetorics. The way to do that is to hold conversations in our communities to test what candidates say to the issues that we face in our communities.
The National Council of Churches in the Philippines joins the Ka-Igorotan in the observance of Cordillera Day. It is our prayer that God who calls us to preserve our communities and their dwelling places will find us faithful to that call.