A SONG FOR MACLIING DULAG
He was a leader in the struggle against the Chico River Project started in
1974 which intended to build dams that would have affected the lives of
about 100,000. About 1,400 sq. kms of Kalinga homes, rice terraces,
orchards, communal forests and sacred burial grounds would have been
inundated to generate 1,000 megawatts of electricity which the Marcos
technocrats said were needed by the country. The Cordillera people led the
struggle against the project.
On April 24, 1980 state security forces killed one of its well-known
leaders, Macliing Dulag, hoping to stop the opposition to the project. But
the struggle went on, and the Marcos martial law government was eventually
forced to abandon the project. A people united was victorious. But like
all extrajudicial killings up to this time nobody has been punished and
jailed for the crime.
ALAY KAY MACLIING DULAG is a song from the album PAGBABALIK NG MUSIKERO by
Nonilon V. Queano. All the songs in this album were written by Nonilon
Queaño, a professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman, and
award-winning playwright and poet. He also did the vocals for most of the
songs. Musical arrangements by Karl Ramirez and featuring special
performances by soprano Rica L. Nepomuceno and classical guitarist Nobel
Queaño. Ganda ng arrangement and musical background, Karl Ramirez
This is a great song, one of the best of its kind, and I never tire of
listening to it especially because one recalls all the many martyrs who
have died for the great cause of national liberation. It provides
inspiration to continue and contribute to an undertaking that is beyond
one's immediate personal concerns. Thank you, Noni!
---- Arkibong Bayan
THE LIFE OF MACLIING DULAG
From the Bantayog ng mga Bayani Archives
Macliing Dulag was a respected elder who successfully led his community
and the Cordillera ethnic people in opposing a dam project of the Marcos
regime that would have inundated ricefields, homes, communal forests and
sacred burial grounds.
Macliing was a little-known village pangat serving his mountainside
village of Bugnay in the 1960s. Pangats are village elders in Kalinga,
chosen by the community to lead because of the courage and wisdom they had
shown in the past.
Macliing was a rice farmer, and also had a weekday job as road maintenance
worker for the Bureau of Public Highways.
In 1974, the newly-installed Marcos dictatorship sought to implement a
1,000-hydroelectric power project along Chico River. The project involved
the construction of four dams that would have inundated 1,400 sq. kms. of
Kalinga homes, rice terraces, orchards, and graveyards. The lives of as
many as 100,000 living in villages along the river, including Macliing’s
Bugnay, would have been affected by the project.
Macliing became a strong and articulate leader in this struggle, which
pitted small nearly powerless communities in the Cordilleras against the
full powers of the martial law regime. Kalinga and Bontoc leaders were
offered bribes, harassed, even imprisoned by the martial law regime but
they, including Macliing, stayed firm in their opposition.
The ethinic Kalinga and Bontoc communities, and lowlanders who sympathized
with their cause, argued that national development should never be
achieved at such extreme sacrifice.
"You ask if we own the land. You mock us. Where is your title? Where are
the documents to prove that you own the land? Title. Documents. Proof.
Such arrogance of owning land when you are owned by it. How can you own
that which outlives you? Only the people own the land because only the
people live forever. To claim a place is the birthright of everyone. The
lowly animals claim their place, how much more of human beings. They are
born to live," spoke Macliing, when asked about land titles and documents.
Resistance to the dam project helped unify what was once a divided
Cordillera region. Macliing and other Cordillera leaders initiated a
series of tribal pacts, which helped cement this unity and create a very
broad anti‑dam front. Macliing became the recognized spokesperson for the
anti-dam opposition, for although virtually unschooled, Macliing saw life
“If you (government) in your search for the good life destroy life, we
question it. We say those who need electric lights are not thinking of us
who are bound to be destroyed. Or will the need for electric power be a
reason for our death? "
Macliing was assassinated on April 24, 1980. A group of government
soldiers raided his house and killed him with a rain of bullets. His
assassination, however, solidified the opposition to the dam, which had
won sympathizers from all over the country and even outside the country.
His assassins were eventually convicted.
Even the World Bank, which would have funded the dam construction,
withdrew from the project, forcing the government to back out of it at
Death: April 24, 1980
Place of Death: Bugnay, Kalinga Apayao
BANTAYOG NG MGA BAYANI website