TINGLAYAN, Kalinga - It has been more than three decades since their death but the bravery of Kalinga's heroes Macliing Dulag and Pedro Dungoc Sr. still remains vivid.
Members of the Butbut tribe of Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga danced and beat their gongs as they paid tribute to Dulag and Dungoc last April 24.
Dulag served as the tribe's "pangat" or chieftain during the 1970s while Dungoc served as his secretary and spokesperson. Both protected the village from the iron hand of then President Ferdinand Marcos.
The late president had proposed the construction of a hydropower plant along the Chico river, but the duo led the opposition, believing that this would lead to the destruction of their traditional farm lands.
Residents recalled that in the evening of April 24, 1980, elements of the Philippine Army's 4th Infantry Division entered their village and searched for Dulag and Dungoc's home.
Mannay, one of Dulag's seven children, saw how her father died inside their home. She said soldiers shot her father on the head while standing behind the door.
Dungoc's wife, Alice, also narrated how soldiers forced open their door and threatened to kill all of them if they would insist to block their entry. Alice said one of the soldiers pointed a gun to her husband and shot him.
Dungoc luckily survived in the incident. He, along with his wife and three children, then went to the mountains and joined the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA) for five years.
He later died after a fallen tree hit their camp during the onslaught of a strong typhoon in the Cordillera region.
The death of Dulag and Dungoc has inspired highlanders to become courageous and brave.
Up to this day, the elders instill in the minds of the young Cordillerans to continue the bravery of their warriors to let their village and lands remain untouched and to fight for their rights.