DAVAO CITY — Hundreds of Lumads here woke up to a fire on Wednesday, February 24, gutting their temporary shelter inside a church-owned compound. According to authorities, the fire was done deliberately.
The investigating authorities from the Bureau of Fire Protection ruled that it was a case of arson as they found evidences left by the still unidentified perpetrators, including a torch measuring one meter and a white plastic container with suspicious flammable substance near the indigenous peoples’ (IP) shelter.
At around 2:30 in the morning Wednesday, the IPs mostly Manobos, found themselves waking up to a temporary shelter burning inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines Haran compound. After several minutes, another fire broke at the dormitory housing at least 20 boarders.
Senior Fire Officer 4 Orencio Grado, officer in charge of the Intelligence and Investigation Section Davao City Fire District, said that since the IP shelter is just a meter away from the wall by the roadside, the suspects could have easily tossed or sprayed (sabligan) gasoline on the shelters and threw a lighted torch to burn it.
“The IPs discovered the torch just outside their shelters, while we discovered a bag with a 1.5 liter bottle filled with gasoline outside the dorm,” Grado said.
Another white gallon container was also discovered outside the Philippine American Veterans Masonic Memorial Park just across the compound.
Grado said the gallon smells of gasoline and is probably used by the suspects in burning the evacuation camp. (davaotoday.com)