Bugnay residents recount how hooded men demolished Heroes’ monument in the dark of night

In succeeding reports, residents of Bugnay have seen 4 hooded men chipping away the marble plate bearing words of dedication to the local heroes of the Anti-Chico dams struggle, night of December 12, 2020. The dedication plate was gone in the morning.

It was on the night of January 3, 2021 when they have again seen hooded men at the site of the monument, more of them this time. Residents also noticed the change of policemen manning the checkpoint near the monument in the evening. They were new policemen that they did not recognize. In morning of the next day, January 4, the metal panels bearing the faces of our local heroes were taken down, which the community people moved to a nearby place to keep it safe.

Immediately, Bugnay residents complained to Tinglayan Mayor, Hon. Sacrament Gumilab as well as to the Philippine National Police (PNP). The PNP, with no trace of guilt nor shame, said that the demolition was done by members of the Betwagan tribe in Mt. Province. Their attempt to pin their crime on innocent people failed as Bugnay came up with a resolution pointing to the PNP as culprits and calls for an investigation, which they submitted to the office of the Upper Kalinga District Engineering Office (UKDEO). Bugnay residents also said they were not informed before the monument was demolished.

Local residents who asked the police why the monument was demolished were told not to interfere or ask questions because there was an order to demolish the monument. They were also told by the police that PROCOR Regional Director PBGEN R’win S. Pagkalinawan has earlier said that the monument should be gone when he goes to Bugnay. Local residents said Pagkalinawan went to Bugnay the day after the monument was demolished, January 4, for a dialogue between the Bugnay and Betwagan tribes regarding the continuing tribal conflict.

These facts were verified by the CPA chapter in the province who went to Bugnay upon knowing that the monument was demolished.

The manner the monument was demolished is plain cowardice! The demolition by itself is paniyew in the culture of the Kalinga people. We recall that last year, the Provincial Advisory Council of PNP Kalinga requested the Sanguniang Panlalawigan’s Committee on Oversight to enact a resolution to remove the monument. It is the PNP that has the motive of demolishing the monument as part of its grand plan of destroying the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) that spearheaded the establishment of the monument, and distorting the true history of the Cordillera people’s struggles.

We call on the PNP to stop their dastardly acts of attacking the CPA, including physical structures like the monument that did nothing but honor our heroes. We call on the public not to tolerate this State tyranny and speak out against abuses on people’s rights. CPA (PR)