By Armando Fenequito Jr.
DAVAO CITY – The Police Regional Office (PRO) 11 has denied that the Haran Compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was “under siege” last Saturday.
PRO 11 regional director Brig. Gen. Filmore Escobal said the tribal leaders from Davao del Norte were just assisted by the local police since they want to bring their relatives back to their homes.
“Hindi ito siege. Ito ay rescue operation na ginagawa ng ating gobyerno, kasi matagal na itong gingawal nila na kulungan ng mga lumad. Kaya mali yung sinasabi nila (It was not as siege, it was a rescue operation done by the government because they have been using this as a detention facility for the members of the tribe for so many years. So, their claim was not true),” he said.
Escobal said the operation was done not only by the tribal leaders and the police but also with the local officials and other civilian government agencies to ensure the safe rescue operation.
The region’s top cop said it was not the tribal leaders who are initiating the commotion in the compound but the organizers who allegedly did not want to release the members of the Indigenous People (IP) Community of Davao del Norte.
Based on the report from Davao City Police (DCPO), the Central 911 received a call pertaining to the stabbing of an alleged Alamara inside the compound but it was found to be negative after investigation.
“Ito ay klaro na panloloko na naman sa ating mga tao (This is another clear deception to the people),” he said.
Escobal said they are preparing cases against the organizers in Haran for preventing authorities from rescuing the IP and children inside the compound.
“Kung patuloy nila itong pigilan, they will be facing arrest (If they will continue to prevent the authorities, they will be facing arrest),” he said.
He said the Haran compound is not considered as an evacuation center since this is not accredited by the Department of Social Wlefare and Development (DSWD).
Escobal also said the organizers who are preventing the IP to go outside the compound will be charged for illegal detention.
“Kailangan aksiyonan ito, ongoing, continuing crime ang nangyayari dito (We need to act on this since detention of these people is an ongoing and continuing crime), he said.