Author: Gantala Press, Illustrated by Nina Martinez
Publication Date: 2021
Number of Pages: 48
Publisher: Gantala Press
Genre: Comics, Non-fiction, Philippine Literature, Historical
Si Leticia ‘Tining’ Bula-at ay mula sa grupong Naneng sa probinsiya ng Kalinga. Noong dekada ‘70, may bantang lunurin ng proyektong Chico River Dam ni Presidente Ferdinand Marcos at ng World Bank ang ili ng mga Naneng at iba pang ili sa Kordilyera. Dalawampu’t walong anyos si ‘Nay Tining nang dumating ang National Power Corporation at Philippine Constabulary sa kanilang bayan para simulan ang pagtatayo ng dam. Linabanan ito ng mga umili: nagtayo sila ng mga barikada, binaklas nila ang mga kampo, at direkta nilang hinarap ang mga sundalo. Sa kabila ng pisikal at sikolohikal na karahasan, nagpatuloy ang kilos-protesta ng pamayanan, at nakansela ang dam ni Marcos. Sa kasalukuyan, patuloy ang pakikibaka nina ‘Nay Tining at iba pang kababaihang tagapagtanggol ng Kordilyera laban sa mga korporasyon at mapanirang mga proyekto ng gobyerno sa Ilog Chico at mga karatig-lugar.
Ang DAWWANG (salita ng mga Naneng para sa “ilog”) ay bersiyon sa Filipino ng komiks na ito na nilathala bilang LET THE RIVER FLOW FREE (Ingles) at LASST DEN FLUSS FLIESSEN (Aleman) sa ilalim ng proyektong Movements and Moments: Feminist Generations ng Goethe Institut-Indonesien.
In this non-fiction comics, we follow Leticia Bula-at as she recalls and tells the story of how they fought against the Chico River Dam which is a project by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr. They fought for their rights to defend their territory as building the said dam threatens to destroy villages in the Cordillera region.
The story opens in October of 2020 where Innabuyog-Kalinga leader Beatrice Belen was imprisoned for illegal possession of explosives charged against her by the Philippine National Police. This represents the similarities of events that happened in the 70s during the Marcos regime and the Duterte regime where we lack social justice while human rights are being abused. Aside from this, land grabbing and displacement due to destructive projects are being faced by indigenous peoples such as mining, energy projects, hydroelectric dams, etc.
“This same situation of oppression, marginalization, and discrimination has motivated indigenous peoples to resist and assert their rights. Sadly, resistance is always met with political repression and violence. When indigenous peoples resist development aggression and assert their rights to land, territories, and resources, the usual response is militarization, harassment, arrest, threat, and intimidation.”
This short non-fiction comics do not only give us a glimpse of the similarities of both regimes, but also represents indigenous peoples and women’s rights. Reading this helped me realize and made me more aware that there are battles going on in our country that we do not know of. We have always put our focus on the big cities, but other l locations, such as the Cordillera region, also needs our support.