Fidela Bugarin-Salvador was a woman with selfless devotion to her God and people. Delle, as she was fondly called by others, was a skilled engineer who advocated the advancement and use of technology in service of the poor. Drawing strength from her Christian faith, Delle, showed preference for the poor and dedicated her life in helping and defending the rural communities in the Cordillera.
Delle was an active member of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), first as a church youth and later church worker with various organizations. She eventually transcended her service by being a development worker in the far-flung communities of the Cordillera.
For over twenty years, Engr. Delle shared her expertise in socio-economic and disaster response projects management as a consultant. She worked for the Mining Communities and Development Center (1990-2001), Regional Development Center (2002-2007), Tawid Consulting Services (2008-2009), the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services (2010-2013) and the Center of Development Programs in the Cordillera.
One of her most prominent works was the implementation of the Philippine Tropical Cyclone Emergency Response Projectand Philippine Tropical Cyclone Shelter and Livelihood Response Project.These projects were convened by the Cordillera Disaster Response and Development Services, together with Engr. Delle, to establish relief and livelihood projects to the communities gravely affected by super typhoons Ondoy and Pepeng in2010. The disaster-stricken communities were provided with shelter projects and irrigations systems. Moreover, Engr. Delle helped build storm-resilient shelters to affected families in Bokod, Benguet and Bontoc, Mt. Province.
Aside from being an active member of the church and a professional engineer, Delle was also an anti-open pit mining activist. In the 1990s, during the height of the struggle against open pit mining in Itogon, Benguet, she helped in mobilizing women, youth and elders of the Ibaloi and Kankanaey tribes and was able to set up people’s organizations such as the Itogon Inter-Barangay Alliance, Begnas Women’s Alliance and the Anti-Open Pit Mining Kids. She worked with other organizers to raise social awareness on the issue of destructive large-scale mining and mega dams, and conduct education and livelihood trainings to the affected. Engr. Delle reached out to the other sectors such as professionals and church groups to support the campaign against open-pit mining and anti-San Roque dam. Her campaign efforts contributed to the success in defending the life, land and resources of the people of Itogon.
In 2009, Engr. Delle also became an organizer of the Regional Development Center Katinnulong dagiti Umili ti Amianan of Northern Luzon in Mankayan, Benguet. Her task was to organize poor peasants for the Alyansa dagiti Pesante ti Taeng Kordilyera and aid them in their struggle against the greedy mining corporation Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company (LCMC).
Being an active protester against development aggressions, Engr. Delle was mercilessly killed by government military forces on September 2014. Engr. Delle was only visiting a rehabilitation project in Lacub, Abra for a community-based monitoring and evaluation. The Armed Forces of the Philippines claimed that Engr. Delle manned the machine gun in a so-called encounter between their troops and members of the New People’s Army. Up until now, justice for Engr. Delle’s brutal yet meaningful death is still not served.
Engr. Delle dedicated her life in nurturing the people and environment of Cordillera. She was a strong believer in human rights and she chose to work for peace and justice, even up to her death. Engr. Delle’s unwavering passion will forever live in the hearts of her family and colleagues and most especially in the heart of Cordillera