By Noveah May Simbajon, Davao Today Intern
DAVAO CITY – The Wednesday dawn fire which burned a dormitory building inside the United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Haran compound here is a direct attack on Church ministry, its bishop here said.
Bishop Modesto Villasanta said on Thursday that UCCP bishops were deeply saddened with the fire “that occurred in our sanctuary” and he believed that it has something to do with them accommodating the different groups of displaced Lumad.
UCCP Haran serves as an evacuation center for some 700 refugees who fled from the militarization of their communities in Davao del Norte and Bukidnon since last year.
Villasanta said the Lumad people, threatened with corporate mining or logging, have long considered the Haran compound their sanctuary as the UCCP continued to accommodate them “since it is part of our ministry to help those who are homeless and helpless”.
“Nahimo na gyud nila ning murag ikaduhang balay (They have considered this place their second home),” he said.
Villasanta dubbed the incident “inhumane” saying the incident traumatized the indigenous peoples.
Villasanta said the Church “doesn’t have any on-going rivalry with other groups that may result to such attack” but sees it as an interruption to their ministry towards the affected Lumads.
“Ang UCCP magpabilin siyang matinud-anon diha sa iyang ministeryo sa pag alagad sa labing nanginahanglan,” (UCCP will remain truthful with its ministry in serving those who are in need) Villasanta said.
At least five Lumads were hurt and 21 students said they lost their things during the 3:00 am fire.(davaotoday.com)