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ASLPC declares Catamco ‘persona non grata’

 • 21:09 PM Sat Jul 25, 2015
Malu C. Manar
(courtesy of nancycatamco facebook account)

KIDAPAWAN CITY -The lumads in North Cotabato have declared ‘persona non grata’ Cotabato 2nddistrict Congresswoman Nancy Catamco who happens to be the chair of the Committee on the Indigenous Peoples (IP) at the House of Representatives. Earlier, Catamco said she is bent on investigating, in aid of legislation, the alleged foreign funding of some $1million to a non-government organization and peoples’ organizations in Haran. She will propose a congressional inquiry as soon as Congress resumes session on Monday. Catamco alleged that Pasaka, a group of lumads in Talaingod, and progressive groups like Karapatan, ASLPC, Bayan Muna, Makabayan, and Gabriela, have padlocked the church compound and held hostages the lumads. She said she doesn’t care what Capuyan and her group are saying against her. Since the time I represented the lumads in Congress, I have done what was best for them.But all I got was false accusations.These progressive groups have tried to discredit me.All the lies were hurled against them.But I don’t care what you would call me.I only wanted to protect the lumads, which you, for so many decades, have been using for your own interests and ideology,” said Catamco. Norma Capuyan, chair of the Apo Sandawa Lumadnong Panaghiusa sa Cotabato (ASLPC), an alliance of several lumad groups in North Cotabato, has expressed her frustration when she heard Catamco accused tribal leaders and community organizers at Haran compound at the UCCP in Davao City of ‘hostage taking’, ‘kidnapping’, and ‘money making business.’ Capuyan said that some 1,200 lumads, who evacuated from their towns in Talaingod, Cate-el, and Kapalong in Davao del Norte, and Kitao-tao in Bukidnon, have refused to leave UCCP compound because of continued military presence in their area. They accused government soldiers of human rights violations and left the area in May. They sought temporary shelter at the UCCP Haran, which they considered as their ‘sanctuary.’ Contrary to Catamco’s allegations, there was no hostage taking.There was no kidnapping at the UCCP Haran.These lumads left their homes because of security reasons,” she said. The lumads have urged the national government, and even Congresswoman Catamco, to facilitate military pullout in areas considered as IP villages. But Catamco, according to Capuyan, refused to listen to their ‘cries’, and instead tagged them as supporting the New Peoples’ Army (NPA) and espousing ‘communist ideology’. Also, Capuyan denied their group is engaged in ‘money making business’ when they sought financial assistance from several groups so they could feed the evacuees.

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