UCCP, Lumad accuse Philippine Army and Alamara of burning Haran

MANILA–United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) bishops expressed outrage at the arson attack against their church compound at Haran, Davao City where hundreds of Lumad evacuees have sought refuge early morning of Wednesday, February 24.

UCCP general secretary general Bishop Reuel Marigsa said they are angry and worried over the apparent arson that wounded five Lumad evacuees, including three children. The victims suffered third degree burns.

“It is clear to us that the burning of UCCP Haran’s Waltertong and Gonzalez cottages was deliberate, as plastic bottles containing gasoline were found around the compound,” Marigsa said.

Marigsa also said that the part of their cyclone fence has been cut for access into the property.

Six UCCP bishops attended the condemnation rally at the Boy Scouts’ Monument in Quezon City last night, including Marigsa, his executive assistant Arthur Asi, Metro Manila Bishop Marino Inong, Northwest Mindanao Bishop Melar Labuntog and Western and Central Visayas Bishop Jezer Bertuldo. The bishops are gathered in Manila for their regular national executive committee meeting.

Marigsa said the attack may only be part of the counterinsurgency operations by government forces through the paramilitary group Alamara.

“It has always been the Alamara that is trying to intimidate us. They keep on trying, but we are not afraid,” Marigsa said.

The UCCP national executive committee vowed to continue to provide sanctuary to the Lumad refugees in their Haran compound.

The Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao also said the attack was premeditated as they have been receiving information that the Haran compound would be burned to the ground.

Pasaka secretary general Jong Monzon said that a datu who sought refuge inside the Haran compound overheard Philippine Army soldiers and the Alamara planning to burn it down if the Lumad refugees refuse to leave.

Monzon said that Kapalong (Davao del Norte) Manobo Datu Dul-om Tumagsa was among those forcibly taken to Davao City by the Alamara and the 60th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army to join a series of rallies in front of the Haran Compound. They were led by Alamara datus Ongging and Larry Mansaloon.

It was then that Tumagsa heard about the Philippine Army and the Alamara’s plan to burn the church compound and the refugee center to the ground and even kill the Lumad evacuees, Monzon said.

Tumagsa decided to bolt the Alamaras and brought his families to Haran to seek refuge themselves.

“Sadly, the threats Datu Dul-om warned us about were carried out,” Monzon said.

Not involved

The Philippine Army denied involvement in the incident.
“The Philippine Army is not involved in the incident. The accusation is malicious (and) has no basis at all,” its spokesperson Col. Benjamin Hao said.

“That is part of the figment of imagination of those who are cohorts of the NPA (New People’s Army),” Hao added.

When sought for clarification if he was accusing the UCCP and the Pasaka as NPA cohorts, Hao replied “Only NPAs have the reason to accuse us. Lahat na lang ibinabato sa amin and, up to now, wala namang napapatunayan.” (We are accused of just about anything and, up to now, nothing has been proven.)

History of arson

Monzon enumerated a series of arson attacks against the Lumads, however.

He cited the burning of four Lumad houses and a cooperative center in White Culaman in Kitaotao, Bukidnon last August; the burning of the Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural Development (Alcadev) cooperative store in Sitio Han-yan, Lianga, Surigao del Sur last September; and the burning of the Alcadev teachers’ cottage in Agusan del Sur last October.

“These burnings have been perpetrated by the paramilitary groups under the direction of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. They are the ones who threaten us,” Monzon said.

Meanwhile, victims of the Haran burning suffered a restless night.

“The Lumad evacuees refused to stay inside their makeshift huts here at the refugee center and instead laid on the ground all night. Still, they could not sleep,” Monzon said.

“The two-year old victim was crying all night because of the pain on his hands and legs,” he said. (by Raymund B. Villanueva. Featured image above courtesy of Bong del Rosario/Kilab Multimedia. Video below by Kilab Multimedia)

P1NAS: Hands off Philippines, independence day twin rally

A twin rally was held last June 12, 2015, independence day in front of China embassy at Makati City and US embassy at Manila, to calls on the Filipino people to stand in defense of national sovereignty and territorial integrity against the foreign powers that seek to tear the Philippines apart.

Chinese Consulate to US Embassy
June 12, 2015

Save Mary Jane Movement: Tagumpay ang sama-samang pagkilos ng mamamayan

Panayam ng Kodao Productions kay Cristina Palabay pangkalahatang kalihim ng Karapatan hinggil sa pansamantalang pagtigil ng execution ng pamahalaang Indonesia kay Mary Jane Veloso.

Quezon City, Philippines
April 29, 2015

Panalangin para sa mga namatay sa Mamasapano, Maguindanao

Sa pangunguna ng Promotion of Church People’s Response
Nag-alay sila ng panalangin para sa hustisya at katotohanan patungkol sa mga biktima ng Mamasapano, Maguindanao.

Ginanap ito sa Camp Crame noong Pebrero 3, 2015.

LARAWAN: Bulaklak, kandila, hinagpis at pakikibaka

Prayer Gathering
9th Day after the death of the fallen of Mamasapano
Camp Crame, Quezon City
February 3, 2015


Mamasapano tragedy: Gabi ng pagluluksa at paghahanap ng katotohanan

Promotion of Church People’s Response condoles with the families of the PNP officers and MILF and BIFF elements whose untimely deaths occurred in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, due to unresolved armed conflict in the country. They offer prayers for nations that will unearth the root cause of this tragedy with prudence and wisdom.

NCCP, Edsa
January 30, 2015


As reports linking US operatives to Mamasapano incident surface

Bayan Muna Reps. Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate today said that as reports linking US operatives on the botched operation in Mamasapano are surfacing left and right thus it is imperative that a thorough investigation be launched by Congress to get to the truth.

President Aquino’s not admitting until now his responsibility, not telling the whole truth and passing the blame of the most bloody police fiasco to the commander of SAF is unacceptable and reprehensible. It is a vain attempt to hide the whole truth, especially his, Purisima’s and the US’ role in the botched operation to escape accountability.

As it is, newspaper reports say that agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and ranking Filipino police officials planned a secret operation aimed at getting a notorious international terrorist, a source who declined to be identified told the Inquirer.

The source said the target was on Washington’s list of priority terrorists: Malaysian Zulkifli bin Hir, alias “Marwan,” who had a $5-million price then on his head. The bounty was later raised to $6 million.

Based on the reports, a former ranking police official in Central Mindanao, claimed that during the meeting, which he attended, the FBI agents shared an intelligence report on the exact whereabouts of Marwan and another terrorist, Filipino Abdul Basit Usman.

The source said the Americans were certain about their intelligence data because it was provided by a mole from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
“They were paid cash in exchange for the information,” the source said.

The source said the FBI agents validated the information relayed to them by their mole through the use of “drones and global positioning system.“We can even see the hideout of their target,” he said.

During the meeting, it was decided that those involved in the operation would not share information with any other government agencies “to prevent a leak of the plan. They will only coordinate with other government troops—posted along the highway—on their way to their mission,” he added.

“Ito ang nakakalungkot dito ang US ang nagplano at ipinahamak ang mga SAF. Matapos ibala sa kanyon ang mga SAF pa ang may kasalanan sa pagkasawi nila,” said Rep. Colmenares

“This is one of our fears when the Philippines entered the Visiting Forces Agreements (VFA) and now the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) we are dragged into their fights and battle plans under the heading Target of US enemies. Filipinos are the ones dying for the US to get what they want. Worse because we are now seen as part of US military operations against its enemies, we also become a target of attacks by the enemies of the US. This should really be investigated and adds to the numerous reasons why these treaties should be junked,” added Senior Deputy Minority Leader Colmenares.

“Malala pa ay Si Pres. Aquino ay naghuhugas kamay at hindi ipinaliwanag kung bakit di pinaalam ang operasyon sa DILG Secretary at PNP chief. Ito ay patunay na totoo nga na si Gen.Purisima ang nagcommand ng operations.May pananagutan si Pres. Aquino sa ginawa nyang pag utos sa operasyon at pagdefy sa order ng Ombudsman na suspendido si Purisima at sa talumpati pa niya ngayon ay lalo lang nagalit sa kanya ang mga kamag-anak at kaibigan ng mga nasawi maging ang sambayanang Filipino,” he added.

“As for his part Rep. Zarate said that “even as other government agencies will conduct their own probes of the incident, Congress must also conduct a thorough investigation, since it appears that there was breakdown in the established mechanisms agreed upon by the GPH and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) as well as to see the veracity of reports that US agents or troops were also in the area after the incident,”

“There are more questions now than when this was exposed. As for example, if SAF commander keep on insisting that Operation Wolverine is very much alike the US operation to get Osama bin Laden then he has already admitted that this botched operation has US backing, support and participation. Another question is how are we certain that the US agents seen in the evacuation of the dead and wounded SAF did not take the supposed body of Marwan or his cut finger for them to test for his DNA? These are just few of the questions that have to be answered for us to get to the truth,” ended Rep. Zarate. ###