UPDATE MARCH 2017
We have been to court and the case is now close through amicable settlement.
We would like to thank everyone who has helped us get through this: the police officers of Bayombong, the political leaders of Nueva Vizcaya (from provincial to barangay officials), the leaders of the Indigenous People (NCIP), the whole community of Nueva Vizcaya, family, attorneys, friends, friends of friends and all the netizens who has shared our case online.
The attacker and his family has sought for forgiveness. We have also extended our hands in peace. We continue to pray that we remain safe in our own house.
On December 11, 2016, we were attacked by our neighbors in Barangay Salvacion.
At around 1:00 AM, I was awakened by a loud noise made by a couple fighting in the street, just below my window. The dogs started to bark incessantly. This is not the first time this has happened. Since coming home last October, I have witnessed how our neighbors’ noise (singing, drinking or fighting) has kept our house awake through the night.
Our family has been quiet all these years despite the long history of threat, violence, theft and assault towards our compound. We know our neighborhood is full of gangs, drug users and chronic troublemakers. Since my parents are originally from Mt. Province, we also know we are defenseless should we pursue justice.
But tonight, just for tonight, I needed sleep. I have been travelling non-stop and just arrived back in town. All I wanted is a peaceful night of sleep.
From my bed, I leaned over the window and said “shhh!” as gently as I can. I was hoping the couple would realize that they were disturbing others and move somewhere else. The guy started shouting and cursing. I laid back quietly hoping he would eventually leave.
But he cursed louder and taunted for me to come out, “Ifugao, Ifugao!”
Ifugao is a name of a fellow indigenous tribe. He kept shouting horrible things, cursing me and the Ifugao people. That’s when I snapped and shouted back for him to keep quiet. I was shocked when he suddenly threw a rock towards our house.
I jumped off the bed and cried for help from the other neighbors. At the top of my voice I cried over and over, “tulong po, mga kapitbahay!” Nothing. Darkness. Not a single neighbor came out. No response from the Barangay too.
His grandmother came and interfered. She tried to pull him away and shouted an apology to me. I was trembling in fear but from my window, I responded saying it’s ok, “ok na po, ok na po.” I thought that was the end of it.
Half an hour later we heard a loud crash and our windows breaking. Big stones were being hurled at our house. Apparently, they came back to attack us. Good thing I was out of my bed or else I would have been hit.
We called the police and waited for their response team. More stones kept coming, more crashing heard. When the police arrived, they assessed the situation and took photos of the damages. Then we heard screams here and there as the guy and his allies created a huge fighting scene. The police tried their best to catch him.
Long story short, the guy’s family came together to resist arrest. The police had no choice but to leave empty-handed. I was asked to go to the station to file a report. The police then left our house despite my plea to leave a person behind. I understand they were understaffed but I also feared for our lives. Our family had no choice but to clasp our hands in prayer and wait for the sun to come up.
Despite the polices’ appearance, our rowdy neighbors stayed up all night loudly singing and shouting curses at us. They had no fear.
At around 6:00 AM the third round of attack started. Bottles and more stones were thrown our way.
At around 7:00 AM, after so much resistance, death threats being thrown at our family and derogatory curses towards the tribal people, the police finally caught the guy. Again, I thought it was done. But after the police left, some of the guy’s allies started throwing rocks at our house again.
At around 1:00 PM, we were hit one more time.
My parents hail from the Balangao tribe of Mt. Province, but my siblings and I were born and raised here in Bayombong. My childhood was full of happy and significant memories of this town. I am a proud Novo Vizcayano.
At the same time, I have my indigenous roots – my ancestral heart that hurts when people demean and discriminate us.
Here are some of the many insults and threats hurled at us:
“Mga Ifugao! Mga manok kayo dito, lumayas kayo!”
“Sangagasut kayo laeng!”
“Lucasi, papatayin ko kayo!”
I am writing this to thank the police for responding to our cries. I sympathize with your team and all the injuries incurred. But I am also pleading to you, the entire security forces and the political leaders of Bayombong to help us. What has become of our town? How can a single family or a group of young people become a threat to a whole neighborhood? HELP.
I am writing this to plead to my fellow tribes of the north. I am not calling you to wage war, but to stand side by side our family and show support. Until when will we swallow all the insults and discrimination hurled at us? HELP.
I am writing this to my good-hearted neighbors, my fellow Vizcayanos. Until when will we keep our lights shut and turn a blind eye to what’s really happening in our streets. HELP.
Please pray for our family as further attacks may happen in the coming days, weeks or maybe even months.
Click on thumbnails to enlarge.
- 11 December 2016 – Assault was committed at midnight.
- 12 December 2016 – Affidavit filed at the fiscal’s office (Nueva Vizcaya Provincial Capitol)
- 13 December 2016 – Received copy of the case file. Another suspect identified. Had a trauma counseling for those who were present during the assault.
- 17 December 2016 – we invited the family of the attacker, to dialogue with us. They had also asked to talk with us earlier that week.
My uncles (mom’s brothers) and attorneys, came down from Baguio to lead the talks. Forgiveness was asked and received during the session. Lunch was also served as part of the Balangao culture in extending peace to the other party.
We also visited the police station to get updates on the case and thank them for the work they do.
– Elementary: Saint Mary’s University Central – Bayombong (batch 1998)
– Highschool: Nueva Vizcaya General Comprehensive High School – Bayombong (batch 2002)
– College: Ateneo de Manila University – Quezon City (batch 2009)