“Duterte and the peace-loving people of Davao sympathize with the plight of the lumad and join their call for respect for their right to self-determination, right over their ancestral land, cultural integrity, meaningful economic growth, and justice,” Laviña said in a statement.
Results of the investigation by the Bureau of Fire Protection indicated that the fire inside the Haran compound of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was done deliberately. They said traces of evidence — a backpack with 1.5 liters of gasoline and a torch found in the property — proves that the fire was caused by arson.
Also, another white gallon container was discovered at the Philippine American Veterans Masonic Memorial Park which sits just across the compound.
The Lumads, most of the Manobo ethnic group, have kept coming back to UCCP’s Haran compound due to the unabated military presence in their communities, where government troops engage in combat with the New People’s Army (NPA). As such, they are often caught in between, with the military constantly tagging them as supporters of the Maoist rebels.
Anger over ‘barbaric’ torching
In Manila, Bayan Muna partylist representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate condemned the Haran arson incident and likened it as reminiscent of Martial Law.
Colmenares pointed out the incident’s resemblance to events during Martial Law, where communities of indigenous peoples and peasants were set on fire by secret police forces.
“We cannot let this sort of crimes continue to this day,” Colmenares said.
For his part, Zarate slammed the Aquino regime for its inutility in resolving the systematic killings against the Lumads in Mindanao.
“Clearly, there is a systematic attack to the lumad people, yet the the President has done nothing to stop it,” he said. (davaotoday.com)