By Simon "Ka Filiw" Naogsan
Spokesperson, Cordillera Peoples' Democratic Front
James M. Balao is among the latest of the US-Arroyo regime's victims of enforced disappearances. It enrages the Cordillera people that one of their kailian and a founding member of the progressive Cordillera People's Alliance (CPA) is treated in such a despicable manner. As former editor-in-chief of UP Baguio's Outcrop and later on as researcher, writer and activist, Balao wielded his Kankanaey and Ibaloi origins and disseminated views that emphasized the need for tribal solidarity to advance the rights and welfare of the Cordillera communities. He thus became a target of the fascist minions of the reactionary state. The CPDF believes that it is the intelligence units of the Arroyo administration whom are responsible for Balao's abduction and disappearance.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. And now, in its most desperate moment, as it is rocked by crises and mounting protests fueled by its anti-people and pro-imperialist policies, the US-Arroyo regime resorts to desperate measures to stay in power. The regime's Oplan Bantay Laya 2, a desperate and floundering attempt to keep the revolutionary movement at bay has inflicted greater human rights violations on unarmed and defenseless civilians in the Cordillera and the rest of the country. Balao's enforced disappearance last September 17 in Baguio City is the first such case in the region. No matter how intensely the regime denies its crimes, the people are well aware of its dirty tactics such as linking progressive legal organizations to the revolutionary underground and thus legitimizing the abductions, killings, and enforced disappearances of legal and unarmed political activists.
Balao's case is no different from the hundreds of victims – youth, women, church people, peasants, journalists and national minorities – of the Armed Forces of the Philippines.There are distinct similarities between the fascist nature of this regime and the much despised Marcos dictatorship. Balao's disappearance a few days before the anniversary of Marcos' declaration of Martial Law is another disturbing sign of the times. We live under an undeclared state of Martial Law.
The Cordillera People's Democratic Front (CPDF) calls for Fetad – a broad mobilization for war – to defend the land, lives and resources of the Cordillera people. The oppresiveness of this corrupt, violent, and deceitful regime and the imperialist masters it serves validate that the armed revolution is the only way to overthrow the rotten system. Balao's kailians in the Cordillera along with the council of elders of the CPDF call for tactical offensives to intensify the people's war that would bring to account the perpetrators of fascist attacks on unarmed civilians.
Fetad! Rebolusyon kayet!