Solons seek probe into armed group’s entry into Lumad evacuation center
MANILA, Philippines – A party-list group has asked the House of Representatives to probe a paramilitary group’s alleged forced entry into an evacuation center for Lumads in Davao City.
Bayan Muna on Monday filed House Resolution No. 663, asking the House committee on human rights to check the incident involving paramilitary group Alamara, which entered the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran.
According to reports on Saturday, tensions at the UCCP peaked when Alamara members armed with bolos tore down the walls protecting the sanctuary. Around 500 Lumads have sought refuge in the church amid claims of violence in the countryside.
“Isang malaking paglapastangan ng mga karapatan ng mga Lumad na naninirahan, na sinaktwaryo ng UCCP mula pa noong 2014 hanggang sa kasalukuyan na hindi sila makabalik sa kanilang mga komunidad dahil sa patuloy na pandarahas ng mga militar,” Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat said after filing the resolution.
(The entry of paramilitary groups is a great offense to the rights of Lumads taking sanctuary in UCCP from 2014 up to now, because they cannot go back to their communities because the military continues to be violent.)
“Malinaw na ‘yong nangyari na iligal na pagpasok at pagsira sa sanctuary ng UCCP sa Davao City no’ng January 25 ng mga armadong Alamara, na sinuportahan ng militar,” Rep. Carlos Zarate also said.
(It is clear that what happened, the entry and destruction of the sanctuary of UCCP in Davao City last January 25 by armed members of Alamara, which the military supported, is illegal.)
Lumad leaders said that the group was accompanied by people suspected to be government agents, forcing the Lumads to retreat to UCCP’s main hall.
The incident came after the Davao Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) released a resolution demanding the closure of the compound, as several human rights violations against indigenous peoples (IP) supposedly occurred inside the said facility.
Government officials are asking the Lumads to return home and to live normal lives on their previous residences. However, Zarate said this is an affront to the Lumads’ right to choose where they could live.
“Ito ay paglabag sa kanilang kagustuhan kung saan sila maninirahanan, paglabag ito sa kanilang karapatan sa sariling pagpapasya,” he said.
(This is a violation of their right to choose where they can live, their right to choose on their own.)
“Mahigpit ang ating pagkundena sa naging aksyon nitong Alamara at sa naging walang (pag)aksyon ng mga miyembro ng kapulisan na no’ng mga panahong iyon, nanonood lamang sa hayagang krimen na ginagawa ng Alamara,” he added.
(We condemn these actions by the Alamara’s acts, and the non-action of the police officers who were only monitoring the crime committed by the Alamara.)
People living in several Lumad communities have fled their homes, amid allegations of heavy militarization of areas, which also led to the closure of Lumad schools like Alcadev and Salugpongan.
The government on the other hand insists that communist rebels from the New People’s Army are the ones spreading violence, using the schools to allegedly indoctrinate people and teach people how to build weapons.
Edited by EDV
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