On July 23, North Cotabato Congresswoman Nancy Catamco wanted to evict the Lumads currently housed at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran in Fr. Selga Street, Davao City.
The police force, carrying their truncheons and steel shields with them, forcibly opened the gate of the compound and destroyed the shelter of the Lumads. At least 15 refugees were wounded.
Around 700 lumads from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte and San Fernando, Bukidnon have evacuated the UCCP after the military encamped at their communities. Together with the paramilitary group Alamara, the Lumads has been in constant threat and fear for their lives.
In this video by Kilab Multimedia, Bae Bibiyaon Ligkayan Bigkay, one of the chieftains, was not able to control her emotion when talking to Catamco when the raid was happening.
According to Bigkay, they welcomed Catamco when she arrived at the evacuation site for the first time. The school bags that she brought were accepted by the children and Bigkay even gave the congresswoman a bead necklace. Bigkay said she gave the necklace to signify that she does not want violence.
However, Bigkay said Catamco has failed in her promise to help them go back to their homes. Bigkay also slammed Catamco for bringing the army with her during one of her visits to them. The military has continuously harassed and maltreated them, Bigkay said, and bringing the military to their supposed safe place was traitorous.
Bigkay also narrated how they do not have to pay for clean water in their home communities, but they cannot go back as the military accuse them of being members of the New Peoples Army. Bigkay said the military is always pestering them with questions and has even set up camp in their schools. The children could not study well as they are afraid of the military.
On several occasions, Catamco wanted to interrupt, but Bigkay only told her to shut up and listen.
Bigkay even stood up from her chair and addressed all the people surrounding them. She said that if they cannot be assured of their safety from the military and the Alamara, she would be willing to fight their own way, with “swords, spears and arrows.”