70 accuse Army of harassment after fact-finding mission for ‘Pablo’ survivors

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DAVAO CITY, Philippines – More than 70 health workers, social workers, nuns, journalists and environmentalists have accused government soldiers of sabotaging their transportation, which had forced them to spend the night in a hinterland village in Baganga, Davao Oriental.

The volunteers of the 3-day national humanitarian and fact-finding mission left the city on Friday to deliver relief, medical and psychosocial services to areas where residents have been suffering from the devastation brought by typhoon Pablo.

Led by Balsa Mindanao, a group engaged in relief and rehabilitation work, the mission also investigated the murder of village councilor and Cristina Jose, who had been leading protests against the slow delivery of government relief goods to the typhoon survivors.

Motorcycle-riding gunmen shot Jose last March 4 after she led the occupation at the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development in Davao City to demand genuine relief services.

Sister Noemi Degala of Balsa Mindanao, in a text message, said the humanitarian volunteers were harassed even before they reached their destination.

“The group was illegally held twice in checkpoints by members of the military in the municipality of Cateel. Military assets blocked the road with a dump truck, logs and rocks in two different locations enough to bar the mission members from passing,” said Degala said.

Degala said the volunteers were wrapping up their mission and were set to leave Sitio Cabuyao in Barangay (village) Binondo on Saturday when they discovered that the drivers of the two trucks that the group hired abandoned their vehicles and were nowhere to be found.

“The habal-habal drivers in the area would not allow us to rent their motorcycles because they fear that they will be harmed by the soldiers. These (habal-habal) drivers, including our drivers, were harassed by the soldiers,” Degala said.

To ensure that the vehicles would not be able to exit the area, logs, sand and gravel were also dumped along the road, Degala added.

Sitio Cabuyao is a two-hour travel away from the poblacion (village) area of Baganga. The mission members spent the night in Sitio Cabuyao. They were rescued by other cause-oriented groups on Sunday afternoon.

Maj. Jake Obligado, civil military operations chief of the 10th Infantry Division, denied allegations that government soldiers threatened the drivers, forcing them to abandon the group.

“We have nothing to do with it,” Obligado said.

Davao Oriental governor Corazon Malanyaon said in a phone interview that she ordered her people to check on the situation and provide assistance to the volunteers.

Malanyaon explained that the local police force reported that the group, before it went to Sitio Cabuyao, was briefly held in checkpoints manned by policemen.

“But the police said that this was a security measure at election time. The police told me that they even escorted the group until they reached Baganga,” Malanyaon said.

“Malanyaon and her group maximized the relief goods intended for Pablo survivors for the interest of their political party and candidates. And they are also afraid that their involvement in the massive abuse of the environment through logging will be exposed,” Sheena Duazo, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan regional spokesperson, said.

Malanyaon, unopposed in her reelection bid, denied the allegations, saying that she was never involved in activities that would compromise the interest of her constituents.

“I would resign, even if I were to win again in the elections despite the fact that I am unopposed, if they could prove their accusations,” Malanyaon said.

Human rights lawyer and Bayan Muna second nominee Carlos Isagani Zarate said they would hold accountable the military personnel and its leadership in the area for this “latest assault and affront on the rights of the people.”

“If the local government in the province led by Gov. Corazon Malanyaon cannot assert its supremacy over the military and instead colludes with the military in the commission of wanton human rights violations, we will also certainly hold it accountable,” Zarate added.

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  • Manuel_II

    Relief Goods to Pablo Survivors or Reinforcement and Supply to their Communist Pigs Comrades!!!

    • $44479964

      You don’t have a premise on which to base your conclusion.

      • Manuel_II

        The mere fact they have been stop by the military is cause enough, LOL

  • $5699914

    Another propaganda by the LEFT-cause oriented groups just to malign the military and the government.
    Pwe!

    • Reign

      lagi naman yan ang palusot ng AFP: Propaganda lang. isip naman kayo ng bago. :)

      • $5699914

        At ang style ng mga kabaro mong NPA, lagi na lang ganyan, kesyo hina-harass kuno.
        Kapag nahuli, kesyo magsasaka lang o kaya estudyante lang.
        Luma na iyan. Buko na iyan, matagal na. Kaya nga naligalig sila kay Palparan noon eh, kasi di umubra mga palabas nila.

    • Magsasaka

      pukang na kahit dito dumudura ka nagpaghahalata ang pagiging barbaro mo, mga duwagis kasi mga kabaro mo kaya mga walang armas ang kayang harasin, subukan nyong tugisin ang mga NPA sa mga kabundukan at sa kanila nyo ilabas ang tapang nyo, nagmumukha kasi kayong manok kapag mga totoong kriminal na de armas ang mga kaharap nyo

      • $5699914

        Barbaro? At ang mga NPA na kabaro mo ay sibilisado?
        Ah, kaya pala lahat ng kamag-anak kong datting mga NPA ay umalis na riyan sa grupo ninyo. Kasi sobrang edukado kayo.

        At yung walang aramas na sinasabi mo na hina-harass, gawain iyan ng mga NPA noon pa. Saksi na ako riyan kaya walang puwang iyang paninidak mo sa akin. Pwe!

  • randyaltarejos

    Palagay ko meron kinalaman dito ang politika. Of course, the concerned governor will not admit that she had anything to do with it. That’s the true color of politics and it is not taught in the college of public administration. Let the people suffer more so that they will always be subservient to the wishes of the politicians that buy them during elections. Making the people’s lives better will mean “magmamalaki sila at di na kayang hawakan sa ilong.” This is the dictum of most politicians, anywhere, everywhere. That’s perhaps the reason why the relief goods from the mission were not allowed to go through upon the governor’s instructions to the soldiers, who always follow orders, even if they’re considered human rights violations. Dapat kasi marunong na mag isip ang mga tao. Binibigyan lang kayo ng paunti-unti para di kayo humiwalay sa pag alalay sa mga politicians na yan. Ganyan ang style nilang lahat.

  • OleSapra aka ARGUS

    No’ng nakaraang taon pa nanalanta ang bagyong Pablo eh bakit ngayon lang nagpupursiging mamigay ng tulong (DAW) na pinangungunahan ng mga leftists?

    Ang mga nasanta ng Pablo eh hindi makapag-isip ng matino dahil sa sinapit na kapalaran.

    Pero gustong mangyari ng mga makakaliwa na buhusan-ng-gasolina ang nagbabaga ng damdamin ng mga biktima ni Pablo sa pamamagitan ng propaganda na kesyo inaapi sila ng gobyerno sa pamamagitan ng AFP-PNP?

    Isang malaking panlilinlang ito porke ginagawang bobo ang mga botante mula sa naturang rehiyon ng mga makakaliwa para iboto ang kanilang mga kandidato!

  • DinngMae

    It’s a relief and rehabilitation effort for the impoverished victims of Typhoon Pablo. To block it and harass the volunteers smacks of insensitivity to the plight of the poor people who are in dire need of help.

    It is expected that non-government organizations will carry the rehabilitation work since government resources are scarce. The relief goods should be delivered to the intended beneficiaries irregardless of where it came from. Ironically, local politicians would like the credit for themselves for some “pogi” points. These politicians were using the people for their own benefit.

    It is obvious somebody ordered the blocking and harassment of volunteers for his or her own benefit in the ballot box.

  • disqusted0fu

    Wow. The Aquino government is not only depriving these poor victims of typhoon pablo from their relief, the government soldiers are apparently even harassing them. Talk about adding insult to injury. What does the Aquino government have against the poor???

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