DAVAO CITY – Before the leaders of the Mercy Mission entered Purok 2, representatives from the Local Government Unit of Kitaotao Municipality have already entered the area on the same day for a separate activity of giving relief goods to the residents.
Sanggunian sa Barangay (SB) Kagawad (councilor) Joel Ubanan, said that he was prohibited by residents to enter the village.
When Ubanan explained to the community that he was there to give relief goods for the calamity assistance, a resident told him, “we don’t need that, we have rice here!”
Ubanan admitted they could no longer control the situation in White Culaman. He said people are butting-in even when he is still talking.
After the LGU’s separate assessment on White Culaman, Ubanan said that people in Purok 2 thought that the delegation of the Mercy Mission are affiliated with the NPAs.
He said this might have triggered Cabugnason’s anger as they are currently protesting against the rebel group and wanted them to leave their community.
Another SB Kagawad, Rey Dacillo, was also prohibited to enter the barangay.
Dacillo later explained to Cabugnason their purpose of visiting the community, but Dacillo said “Cabugnason interrupted and requested to provide them weapons.”
Dacillo then told Cabugnason that they cannot decide whether to provide what they want and “they are not in the authority to do so.”
“Cabugnason insists on what he wants, that he must be followed. No matter how we explained that we are there to provide relief for the community, he insists that they want weapons,” Dacillo recalled.
Meanwhile, SB Edwin Pajo Abucayan who was also part of the said relief mission of the LGU for White Culaman admitted that LGU officials like him are not spared from the accusation of Cabugnason that they are “conniving with the NPAs.”
“That is what is clear,” Abucayan said.
Abucayan suggested to the group to file complaints against Cabugnason.
He said the group could file for “abuse of authority” against Cabugnason to the Ombudsman.
“If he will be proven guilty of abuse of authority, he will be suspended for a maximum of 90 days,” said Abucayan.
The Solidarity Action Group for Indigenous Peoples and Peasants (Sagipp), one of the groups that initiated the mission, said inspite of the incidents “the mission was successful”.
Fritz Vegas, a convenor of Sagipp, said the mission “managed to verify some of the reported human rights violations in White Culaman.”
“If we did not go to the area, the reports [that reached our office] will just be hearsays,” Vegas said.
The Mercy Mission recorded a total of 39 documented cases which affected more than 1,400 individuals.
The group has already filed complaints against Cabugnason before the Kitaotao Municipal Police Station last September 18 in the afternoon. (davaotoday.com)