Group questions freeze order on UCCP-Haran’s bank accounts
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –– A group advocating for the rights of indigenous peoples has criticized the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) for ordering a freeze on three bank accounts of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Haran Center in Davao City as the national government continues its crackdown on entities seen as communist rebellion supporters.
The Sandugo – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination, in a statement, said the UCCP-Haran Center had not violated any laws that would warrant the freezing of its bank accounts.
The AMLC’s decision came amid the accusation that the UCCP-Haran Center was allegedly involved in child abuse, trafficking, and harboring New People’s Army rebels.
The Sandugo is an alliance of Bangsamoro and indigenous peoples organizations that aim to protect ancestral territories and advance their rights.
The group has asserted that the protestant church had been extending help to the indigenous peoples who felt threatened by the presence of state forces and paramilitary groups in their communities.
“For decades now, UCCP-Haran Center has been a known sanctuary for lumad people in Southern Mindanao,” said Aya Santos, Sandugo public information officer.
The UCCP-Haran, she added, is simply performing their calling to “participate in the establishment of a just and compassionate social order.”
Helping the distressed indigenous peoples “is not a crime (rather) it is an act of faith and kindness,” Santos said.
AMLC issued the freeze order through Resolution No. TF-36 dated March 12, 2021. It covers the UCCP-Haran’s accounts with the Philippine National Bank amounting to about P600,000 and real property under the name of Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries, Inc.
AMLC said its investigation showed that UCCP-Haran’s assets are used to finance terrorism, in violation of the Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act.
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