DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Updated as of 10:39 pm, February 12, 2017) — The Alamara, a paramilitary group in Davao del Norte, has reportedly threatened a medical and solidarity mission team in Nasilaban, Barangay Palma Gil at Talaingod, Davao del Norte on Sunday afternoon.
Around 30 delegates composed of volunteer doctors, nurses, social workers, Biology professors and students from University of the Philippines Mindanao visited Talaingod last Thursday, Feb. 9 to investigate the cause of epidemic on cholera that has gripped the predominantly IP-populated municipality since December 2016.
There have been 16 confirmed deaths due to cholera epidemic from November to December 2016 while 11 deaths from the month of January have been reported.
The delegates were supposed to descend earlier this afternoon from Nasilaban, an interior village, but the motorcycle vehicles that would fetch them were given a warning by the paramilitary group, according to Save our Schools Network.
“Ayaw ninyo i-angkas tung mga bisita nga nahibilin sa Nasilaban aron dili mo madamay (Do not fetch the delegates who were left in Nasilaban or else something will happen to you),” the SOS report said.
At 9:00 pm Sunday, Rius Valle, spokesperson of SOS Network posted in his Facebook account that they are still stranded in Talaingod. He said the local government unit will escort them early morning Monday to ensure their safety.
“Community leaders and friends along with Talaingod LGU will escort us tomorrow early morning to ensure our safety,” he said.
In an interview with Davao Today, Department of Social Welfare and Development Undersecretary Mae Fe Templa said she was in touch with the office of Talaingod Mayor Basilio Libayao since 12:45 pm Sunday.
“I appealed to the mayor through his secretary that he send his staff to bring down the mission delegates and ensure their safety as Alamara forces were present and one of them warned the drivers not to fetch the scientists in Nasilaban,” Templa said.
Templa, who joined the medical mission from February 9 to 11 said the team in charge for the water analysis and fecalysis is still stranded in the site.
“This is the team of microbiologists (parasitologist, virologist included) with their students from UP Mindanao,” she said.
She said that the DSWD joined the mission “to ensure deliver of food packs, nutrition sachets for infants and under one-year olds, and social preparation for the conduct of climate change and adaptation and mitigation-related.”
Templa said the team is expected to arrive in Davao City past 5:00 pm Sunday.
“Alamara forces remain a threat to the safety and security of people volunteering to work for community welfare, development and resource mobilization,” she said. (davaotoday.com)