The Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women decried the recent attack of the Duterte government, through the 56th Infantry Battalion, on Manobo leader Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay and her community in Davao del Norte.

Reports from Save our Schools Network said that on September 18, 2021, armed soldiers stormed into the Talaingod community in Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Hill, and with the help of the local government unit forced Bai Bibyaon’s family and relatives to sign a document that would retrieve the Lumad leader from her sanctuary.

As Chair Emeritus of Kalumaran-Mindanao and the Sabokahan – Unity of Indigenous Women group, Bai Bibyaon has for decades sought refuge from intense militarization, threat and harassment by the reactionary government. In as long a period, the first and lone woman chieftain of the Manobo people has been leading the indigenous communities in the Davao region in resisting development aggression in the form of big mining, logging, and corporate plantations. 

“The military’s effort to incarcerate Bai Bibyaon is the Duterte government’s latest attack against peasant women through its genocidal ‘whole-of-nation’ approach. All over the country, peasant women and their families are being harassed, illegally arrested and detained, or executed in the name of the government’s anti-insurgency campaign,” stated Zenaida Soriano, national chairperson of Amihan.

“Amihan calls on the Talaingod municipality to protect its constituents instead of putting their lives in grave danger. Cooperating with the military is a betrayal of the people’s interests, especially the more vulnerable indigenous peoples whose ancestral lands and basic human rights are under attack. Often, these atrocities are perpetrated by the very soldiers that claim to protect them from so-called terrorists,” Soriano added.

“We stand with the indigenous peoples from Northern to Southern Philippines in defending their land and right to self-determination. We stand behind the indigenous women leaders who fight for their community at the risk of their life. We condemn the Duterte government and its armed forces for all the crimes they have been committing against peasant women and indigenous women,” Soriano ended. ###

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