PARAÑAQUE CITY – Hundreds of Lumads to be hosted by the National Cathedral of the Iglesia Filipiniana Independiente were blocked by buses brought by the police forces as tribal protesters were about to leave for travel to the IFI Cathedral, Saturday afternoon.
Since Friday evening, during the arrival of the Manilakbayan delegates here at the Baclaran Church, police force in buses and patrol cars arrived and patrolled outside the church.
Pastor Sarley Templado of United Church of Christ in the Philippines, said that the issue on the “franchise of the jeepneys used are questioned.”
But Templado said that “the jeepneys used are voluntary support from transport groups as their form of support to the Lumads.”
Templado’s explanation were not entertained by the police as “they keep on insisting on the franchise issue,” Templado said.
On Saturday morning, a dialog with the church heads, together with leaders of the Manilakbayan, police chiefs, local police head, and regional DILG was held to tackle on the do’s and dont’s with regards to the security issues.
Templado, quoting the police, said that “police presence around the church is not for the Manilakbayan but for the vendors who are insisting to stay around the church.”
“The police said that if they will leave the area, vendors might return to the vicinity,” he said.
But this reasoning did not impressed the pastor, Templado said that “what just happened earlier proved that the deployment of police forces are for the Manilakbayan delegation.”
The 100 delegates of Manilakbayan who are about to transfer to the National Cathedral of IFI were according to Templado, “were accused to assemble for rally.”
“Even if we asserted that the 100 delegates will just travel, still they were not allowed to proceed,” he added.
At 6:00 pm, the group no longer asserted their way out of the church compound as it may cause much more tension to the delegates. The church found another space for them inside the compound.
Police presence armed with hand guns and truncheons are seen roaming inside the church compound, on Saturday morning.
Father Teody Holgado, head priest of the Baclaran Church, said that they had already a dialogue with police chief who are deployed around the church.
Holgado said that the police agreed to their demands that “if police forces will just to go to the church, they must leave their arms, including truncheons, outside the vicinity of the church.”
Churches, including schools, are places of sanctuary where firearms are not allowed in the vicinity.
Police forces, who earlier entered the church grounds violated the no firearms rule in sanctuary places, said the church head. (davaotoday.com)