DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The displaced Manobo Lumads in UCCP Haran clarified that the infant that died last week was not related to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as claimed by some Facebook pages.
The Lumad group Pasaka, which supports the displaced Lumad, said in their statement that these posts claiming came out right after authorities exhumed the infant to collect samples for testing.
“The claim that the death of an infant here is a case of COVID-19 is clearly malicious and fake, placed our sanctuary in a bad light, and cause unnecessary distress in our community,” said the Lumad group PASAKA in a statement.
The eight-month-old Lumad infant named Althea Dawsay Ablores died on May 11 and was buried by her parents at Madapo Cemetery right across the Haran compound, and was exhumed by authorities on May 13 and undergone an autopsy.
The results have not yet been released.
On Monday, local health authorities conducted testing on the Lumad, while the parents were placed under observation in a quarantine facility in Thomas Claudio.
The Facebook pages, named Kamatuoran, Kalumuran, and Enlightened Pinoy, posted their memes on the same day that authorities conducted the exhumation. They alleged the infant died of COVID-19 and that the Lumad, the Pasaka, and UCCP leaders had violated quarantine guidelines and are neglected.
The group refuted this claim and said they have observed quarantine protocols.
Volunteer health workers and community leaders have placed precautionary measures like physical distancing, regular check-ups, disinfection, and sanitizing of individuals before entering the sanctuary.
“We continue to do our best despite the glaring reality that this regime failed to address our needs as a vulnerable sector, being internally displaced. Despite the continuing denial of this government to provide us food and medicine pass we are trying our best to survive these adversities,” the statement said.
The UCCP Haran sanctuary currently caters to around 300 Manobo from the towns of Talaingod and Kapalong from Davao del Norte, and Arakan, North Cotabato after they had experienced attacks on their community schools from soldiers and paramilitary. (davaotoday.com)