Duterte: Catamco ‘knows nothing’
DAVAO CITY—Mayor Rodrigo Duterte said he was itching to testify at the House of Representatives to call the chamber’s attention to a legislator who, Duterte said, “knows nothing” about indigenous peoples.
Duterte wants to be called to the investigation of the July 23 raid on Haran, a facility inside the compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP), which took in members of the Manobo tribe who fled the increasing military presence in their communities.
Several Manobo people were hurt during the raid that was instigated by North Cotabato Rep. Nancy Catamco (Liberal Party) who vowed to “rescue” the tribal people from what she said was illegal detention by militant groups.
Duterte received reports that Catamco has been pointing to the mayor as the one who provided the truck that was to bring the tribal people back to their communities.
“She asked for it,” Duterte said of Catamco.
Duterte said he gave in to Catamco’s request, which included food packs for 1,000 persons, because she wanted to bring the tribal people back to their places of origin “before the President’s Sona (State of the Nation Address) on July 27.”
“But I did not order the police to go there,” the mayor said.
On July 23, at least 500 government agents and police forces in antiriot gear, along with Catamco and military officials, forced their way into Haran to forcibly remove the evacuees and bring them back to their villages.
At least 17 tribal people and two policemen were wounded in the raid.
“I don’t know why she wanted to do that before the Sona,” said Duterte, referring to Catamco. “I told her to wait for me to come back because I had an urgent appointment in Manila, but she was hardheaded,” the mayor said.
“A little learning is a very dangerous thing,” Duterte said, still referring to Catamco.
He said Catamco should have filed a resolution in Congress urging the Commission on Human Rights to intervene.
The problem with Catamco, Duterte said, was that she thought the “lumad” at Haran Center were being manipulated.
“Tell her to educate herself more before she speaks up,” Duterte said, adding that the North Cotabato representative does not know the “political dynamics” in the areas where the lumad came from.
He said the lumad were in the city to escape being killed by the Alamara, a militia group composed of members of the tribe who were recruited by the military.
“Let’s not fool ourselves. This Alamara is backed up by the military to go against the Left,” Duterte said.
On the other hand, Duterte said some of the lumad were sympathizers of the communist New People’s Army.
“I told her to talk to the Left, but she even asked if there were people from the Left. We were surprised she did not know,” Duterte said. Nico Alconaba, Inquirer Mindanao
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