REMOVE REP. NANCY CATAMCO AS CHAIR OF THE HOUSE COMMITTEE ON NATIONAL CULTURAL COMMUNITIES
This petition had 2,477 supporters
The armed men came as displaced lumad children tried to keep up with their interrupted education. They broke down the gates of a sanctuary owned by a Christian church. They sent truncheons crashing onto religious workers and lumad refugees alike. And they called it a rescue.
The monsters were led by a lawmaker who had presented herself as a savior and ally to fellow lumad seeking an end to the violations of their human rights.
In leading the July 23 violence against already vulnerable displaced persons, North Cotabao Rep. Nancy Catamco showed she is a traitor to her people and underserving of her position in the House of Representatives.
This abuse followed Catamco’s previous effort to deceive 668 Manobo evacuees from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon now staying in Davao city. She also publicly badgered and threatened them when they refused her demand to return home with no guarantees for their safety.
With little thought for the trauma suffered by the lumad, especially the women and children, Catamco on July 15 brought into the evacuation area without warning B/Gen. Alexander Balutan of the 10th Infantry Division and Col. Harold Cabreros of the 1003rd Brigade, Philippine Army, Col. Jake Obligado and their intelligence cohorts. These men command the very same units that are charged with attempted murder and murder and the take over of lumad schools and communities.
Catamco insulted lumad leaders when they sought safety guarantees. She issued orders but refused to heed their call to pull-out military forces and disband paramilitary groups that threaten their communities.
She questioned the legitimacy of Manobo leaders from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte and from San Fernando, Bukidnon, and called their people stinky and ignorant.
At a press conference, she twisted facts, claiming the lumad were under detention. This was a direct echo of the military line, an endorsement of the unjust kidnapping charges filed against Manobo leaders and the church and human rights workers who succor them in their time of need.
Catamco even encouraged violence against the lumad evacuees by inviting to her presscon paramilitary leader, Lumansad Sibogan, who declared tribal war a day before they attacked the UCCP Haran.
Let us tell the House leadership, “Enough!” Let us tell them not to further stain the House by leaving the committee on indigenous peoples to a tyrant and protector of big firms out to steal lumad lands. The House of Representatives cannot be a party to the violent acts instigated and encouraged by Catamco.
You do not have to be a lumad or be a resident of Mindanao to stop this injustice and outrage. We can work together by signing and sharing this petition for the removal of Rep. Nancy Catamco as chair of the House Committee on Indigenous Peoples and for the House of Representative leaders to mediate on the plight of Manobo evacuees. ###
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