DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Displaced Lumad families staying in UCCP Haran react to another case of “disinformation” that two infants who died was due to COVID-19 infection.
The group Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao, reacted to news stories which they point out “came from a report they did not clearly identify.”
The group released a statement on Monday, pointing out that the parents of the first infant are still waiting for the test results to come out this week.
But they added “initial information from the barangay says that the results are negative (of COVID-19 infection).”
“We are asking the authorities to release these results to stop defaming the family and us, Lumad,” the group said.
They added that the parents of the second infant who died in the hospital last March 18 is already placed under quarantine, following the measures placed inside the Haran with the help of volunteer doctors.
Pasaka pointed out that since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, they have put up precautionary measures in Haran such physical distancing, regular check-ups, and disinfection for persons before entering the sanctuary.
They also question how the reports claim there was COVID-19 infection, “when there is no mass testing conducted here?”
“The spread of these false information accuses the Lumad of ignorance, neglect, and bringing infection to the city,” the group slammed, stressing that those behind this disinformation must be held accountable for violation of the Bayanihan to Heal as One Act for spreading fake news that cause alarm to the public.
The group said that the deaths of the two infants “show that Haran is no different with the urban poor communities in the city, who experience worse situation because of the lockdown, not receiving any food rations from the government and prohibited to go outside to find food.”
The evacuees previously stressed that disinformation should not be used to force them to go back to their communities without addressing their primary demands to the government including the reopening of Lumad schools, disband paramilitary groups, and stop the forced surrender of Lumad.
Pasaka also demand that government should implement mass testing to allay worries from the public and dispel guesswork. (davaotoday.com)