DUNGOC, Pedro

Pedro Dungoc was a farmer in the village of Bugnay in the Cordillera mountains in northern Luzon. He supported himself through elementary and high school and two years of college. He then worked as a telephone operator for the Ministry of Public Highways.

Pedro and his village of Bugnay got drawn into national politics early in the martial law regime when the Marcos government decided in 1974 to build dams along the Chico River. The project would generate 1,000 MW of electricity but drown villages and ricefields, and culturally valuable sites such as sacred grounds and burial sites. About 100,000 Kalingas and Bontocs would have been displaced, along with their traditions.

Pedro joined the active opposition to the project. Because he was one of the very few in his tribe who was literate, and who spoke Ilokano and Filipino, soon he was the spokesperson for Macliing Dulag, one of the Bugnay elders, and one of the staunchest oppositionists to the dam.

Pedro was not an elder as Macliing was. But he helped forge a pact among Cordillera elders consolidating their opposition to the dam. He served as liaison of the oppositionists to support groups in urban areas. Of particular merit was his work for the establishment of a functional literacy program in the localities. It is to his credit that many peace pact holders in Kalinga can at last sign their names to documents.

Militarization of the villages did not cow the oppositionists. Checkpoints and searches were established. Soldiers raided villages, burned granaries, raped women, and mauled men. Pedro’s village was under constant watch, and dam oppositionists harassed constantly.

Pedro and another villager were arrested and beaten up by soldiers in 1980 on charges they had stolen a rifle. The missing rifle was found the next day, but the two were detained a few days longer, released, bruised and hungry, on the intercession of Macliing.

One night in April 1980, soldiers came to the village and shot down Macliing in cold blood. They also tried to kill Pedro, but he managed to escape, suffering only an arm wound. The incident changed Pedro. Although then a family man with five children, Pedro decided that the fight against the dictatorship could not be waged on the legal front and alone. He joined the New People’s Army.

Pedro died at the height of a typhoon named Kuring in the early morning of 22 June 1985. He and a comrade had been huddled under a tent as the winds wrought their destruction. An old, dying tree fell on their tent. Pedro’s companion died instantly. Pedro’s ribs and legs were broken but he and his comrades were hours away from any medical facility. Pedro died after a few hours.

The government discontinued plans to build the dam along the Chico river, and no other big dam has been built in the Cordillera.

Born 1943

Died 22 June 1985

Place of birth : Bugnay, Tinglayan, Kalinga‑Apayao

Parents : Dungoc Puyoc and Chucnoy Dungoc

Spouse : Alice Chuki

Children: Julie Ann, Pedro Jr., Gilbert, Lorenza and Ramon

Education : High School – St. Teresita’s High School

College – St. Louis College, Tabuk, Apayao, 2 years