For insulting and disrespecting the evacuees, Manobo leaders declared North Cotabato Congresswoman Nancy Catamco “persona non grata” to their evacuation shelter at the UCCP Haran.
This declaration was made after the Manobo leaders felt they were slighted by Catamco in a dialogue with her and other government officials with support groups last July 15 to address their issues.
Leaders from the groups Salugpongan of Talaingod, Karadyawan of Kapalong and Kasilo of Bukidnon
said in a press conference (story here) that they felt disrespected when Catamco refused to listen to their demands and kept interrupting them when they were raising their points.
They recounted that Catamco kept ignoring them in the dialogue held at the UCCP Haran by passing the microphone to the evacuees and asked if they wanted to go home and told them they are assured of free transportation.
The dialogue later moved to another venue, but eventually the Manobo leaders and support groups walked out.
In this voiceclip, Catamco can be heard raising her voice in response to a person who said they would rather die in the evacuation center than return to their militarized communities.
She said “Okay, you want to die here? Okay, you want to die here? He said that. You want to die? Alright, those who want to die here, raise your hands. Raise your hands! You want this? Really?” Later she added “I cannot understand seeing the children here stinking (baho) like this …”
The Manobo leaders said Catamco even brought military officials to the dialogue which made their families worried. They later called Catamco “arrogant” and “not real” in her feelings for the lumads.
They said they will no longer open their doors to a dialogue with Catamco after her actions and would wait for other venues to resolve their issues.