The family of JAMES BALAO, a member of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), has reported that he has been missing since 17 September 2008. He left his residence in Fairview, Baguio City at around 7:00 AM on the said date and since then, has not been in contact with his friends and family; nor can they contact him.

This is very unlikely for Balao, who his friends and family know to be conscientious as to informing them of his whereabouts. James is of medium-built, 5’7″-5’9″ tall, is chinky-eyed and was last seen wearing a black jacket, brown pants, visor, black hiking boots and eyeglasses. He was carrying a yellow and blue backpack and red travelling bag. He was going to spend the following days in the family residence in La Trinidad.

His absence is very alarming, as he has reported regular surveillance to hisfamily starting first week of June 2008 and has increasingly heightened until his disappearance. He has even observed white and blue vans that regularly tail him from his residence to his daily chores.

We are urgently calling on the authorities, particularly the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippins (AFP) and the public who know him (former classmates, friends), to aggressively assist the Balao family and us in our search for James. Any information in relation to James may be forwarded to the Balao family at 09175069404; the offices of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (442-2115); and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (445-2586 and 09189199007). #

Cordillera Peoples Alliance Chairperson

Cordillera Human Rights Alliance Chairperson


James Balao is a founding member of the CORDILLERA PEOPLES ALLIANCE (CPA) when it was established in June 1984. Before the founding of the CPA, James was concurrently a researcher of the Cordillera Studies Program (CSP), the research and documentation arm of the Cordillera Schools Group (CSG), and a member of the Cordillera Consultative Committee then chaired by Atty. William Claver. The CSG published IGOROT: A People Who Daily Touch the Sky in 1986, and James’ name appears in the acknowledgment to the CSP staff. At present, he is the President of the Oclupan Clan Association and one of his tasks is to look into the registration and documentation of the clan properties.

Even before the founding of the CPA, James was working as a research staff of the Cordillera Resource Center (CRC), then Cordillera Consultation and Research (CCR). His forte and expertise in education and research were reflected in his work as head of the CPA’s Research and Education Commission as a trainor and researcher. He has invaluably contributed to CPA’s Research and Education work, especially in defining the particular manifestations of national oppression and the particular features of self-determination in the Cordillera.

James was with the CPA Regional Office until 1993, and then devoted his skills and expertise to the research and education work of the CPA chapters and network in the provinces such as in Ifugao from 1994 to 1997, with the Ifugao Research and Development Center (IRDC) and later with the Ifugao Peasant Leaders Forum (IPLF). Then onwards, and up to present, he extends the same services to other provinces in the region, carrying out CPA’s research and education work particularly in agriculture and the Cordillera peasant situation, and his main contribution has been in helping to clarify the features of semi-feudal exploitation in the Cordillera.

At the same time, James has been actively attending to family affairs as clan president of the Oclupan Clan Association. As an active member of the CPA, James makes it a point to attend the CPA’s CORDILLERA DAY Celebrations, such as in Tocucan, Mt. Province (2004) and Baguio City (2007).

Balao graduated BA Social Sciences (Psychology) from the University of the Philippines Baguio in 1983, with a double major in Psychology and Economics. In college, he was the editor-in-chief of the Outcrop (campus newspaper). James had also worked as a staff of Pons Benagen, of the 1986 Constitutional Commission on the drafting of the 1986 Constitution especially on provisions on indigenous peoples.

He is the eldest child of Mr. and Mrs. Arthur and Jane Balao of Atok and La Trinidad, Benguet and is the eldest of four children. He was born in April 10, 1961. #




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