top of page

FINDING BAE BIBYAON BIGKAY: A Pursuit for Truth and Justice

June 1, 2024

The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has mobilized government agencies to collaborate in unraveling the mystery surrounding the alleged passing of Bae Bibyaon Bigkay, a revered leader of the Ata Manobo Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs).

Datu Bawan Jake Lanes, Executive Director of the Mindanao IP Council of Elders, emphasized the importance of resolving the status of Bibyaon during a virtual press conference hosted by the NTF-ELCAC on May 31, 2024, stressing the significance of honoring her in accordance with the Ata Manobo culture.

"Nanawagan na ang Commision para magkaroon talaga ng kapaliwanagan kung ano na ang status, ano na ang nangyari, patay na ba talaga si Bae Bibyaon Bigkay o buhay pa. Kung patay na, nasaan ba ang kanyang katawan?," he said.

"Importante ito sa pamilya, sa community ng mga Ata Manobo sa munisipyo ng Talaingod dahil sa kanilang kultura dapat ang namatay na miyembro lalo na kung lider ay dapat gawaran ng ritwal o pamamaraan ng paglibing o pagyao at pagbibigay pagpapahalaga sa namatay na lider," he explained.

The genesis of this urgent call, as delineated in Commission En Banc Resolution No. 2024-09-03-020, stems from the poignant narrative shared by Bibyaon's close family members and relatives, recounting her disappearance since 2012 when she relocated to the "Bakwit" in Haran Center, Davao City.

Despite fervent appeals for assistance in reuniting her with her family, little progress has been made in determining her whereabouts and well-being, according to her family.

In December 2023, the heart-wrenching news of Bibyaon's alleged passing surfaced through the Save Our Schools (SOS) Network. However, with no concrete evidence beyond the SOS Network's announcement, the NCIP underscores the necessity of a thorough investigation to uncover the truth.

Rurelyn Bay-ao, Bibyaon's niece and former CPP member who served as a fake translator for the latter during their UP Bakwit tour days, highlighted the urgent plea against the exploitation by CPP NPA NDF of indigenous peoples, specifically targeting Bae and their community which has been conveyed to the United Nations.

She revealed the exploitation of indigenous peoples for fundraising purposes, from which the supposed beneficiaries do not benefit.

"Malinaw na malinaw po na kahit patay na si Bae Bibyaon, gusto pa rin nilang pagkakitaan. Tapos yung mga income pala ni Bae Bibyaon na para sa kanya ay wala, kahit binigyan man lang yung family, wala talaga. Grabe lang yung galit, kung pwede lang sana gumawa lang ng pangayaw, ginawa na namin," she pointed out.

Bae Anna Jessamae Crisostomo, Spokesperson of the Mindanao IP Youth Organization echoed that over the course of three years, their relentless efforts have been focused on securing justice for the relatives of Bae Bibyaon amidst the ongoing investigations into her disappearance and abuse.

She expressed belief that the abuse and exploitation extend beyond Bae Bibyaon to encompass the youth as well

In alignment with the principles of human rights and the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, the NCIP urges government bodies, including the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and the Philippine Commission on Women, to collaborate urgently.

Furthermore, the resolution mandates agencies such as the Department of Health (DoH), Department of Education (DepEd), and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to verify Bibyaon's status and, if confirmed, ensure her dignified return for a customary farewell.

The resolution also stresses the critical importance of transparency, accountability, and respect for the rights of ICCs/IPs.

The NCIP calls on all stakeholders to act swiftly and compassionately in the pursuit of truth and justice for Bibyaon. -30-


Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco



No tags yet.
bottom of page