The College of Social Work and Community Development of the University of the Philippines Diliman (UP-CSWCD) announces the selection of Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay as the recipient of the 2017 Gawad Tandang Sora.
Bai Bibyaon is an outstanding indigenous woman leader. The only female chieftain in the history of the Manobo tribe, she has led the defense of the Manobo ancestral land since 1994. She was among those who led the pangayaw (tribal war) against the intrusion of a destructive logging company that threatened to destroy the ancestral lands in Talaingod, Davao del Norte. She remains active in asserting the rights of indigenous peoples until today.
The awarding ceremony will be held on February 23, 2017 at 9:00 a.m., during the UP-CSWCD’s College Week celebration. Bai Bibyaon, the third recipient of the Gawad since 2010, will receive a trophy made by UP Artist and College of Fine Arts professor and former Dean Leonilo Doloricon and a cash award from the Office of the Chancellor of UP Diliman.
For decades, Bai Bibyaon Ligkayan Bigkay has been at the vanguard of the Lumad struggle, defending the communities of Pantaron range against plunder and militarization. Together with other Datus, she surpassed the hardships brought by militarization, all for the defense of their ancestral land and the environment.
She led her people during the massive exodus to the city after the military and its paramilitary group Alamara intensified their attacks on the Manobo communities in Talaingod and Bukidnon. She also led other indigenous leaders “spill blood on the grounds of the University of the Philippines” as she inspired trailblazing campaigns such as the Manilakbayan ng Mindanao protest camp and caravan and the Sandugo, a national alliance of Moro and indigenous peoples. Constantly, Bai Bibyaon upheld the dignity of the Lumad people as they face ethnocide.
Also among her accomplishments is organizing other indigenous women leaders and forming the Sabokahan to mo Lumad Kamalitanan (Confederation of Lumad Women). She was also instrumental in the growth of the Salugpungan Ta Tanu Igkanugon Learning Center which started in her community but now runs around 50 elementary and high school campuses for indigenous children.
As she nears the centenary of a life devoted to land, culture, rights, and life, she stands tall as a nurturing leader and as a woman of courage and vision for her people. Bai Bibyaon is the Tandang Sora of the countryside. She is the Mother of the Lumads who inspires the revolution of the Filipino people for national self-determination and freedom.
The U.P. Gawad Tandang Sora is the award bestowed upon outstanding academics, practitioners, or organizations that rendered excellent service in the fields of Social Work, Community Development, Women and Development and Social Development. It is administered by the College of Social Work and Community Development of the University of the Philippines Diliman.
The award is named after Melchora “Tandang Sora” Aquino, the “Mother of the Philippine Revolution,” whose life and deeds represent love of country and service to her fellow Filipinos. (UPCSWCD)
For questions and more information on the awarding ceremony, please contact:
Prof. Jocelyn T. Caragay
Dean, College of Social Work and Community Development
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
Tel. no. 929-8438; 929-2477