4 Milgrace Driz - dcpo

Police Chief Inspector Milgrace Driz, spokesperson of the Davao City Police Office during the AFP-PNP press conference held on Wednesday, March 9. (Ace R. Morandante/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY — Two weeks after the fire gutted a dormitory and makeshift shelters of Lumad evacuees inside a church compound here, police are yet to release their report that seeks to find out whether the accident was orchestrated, or not.

Migrace Driz, Davao City Police Office chief, said this is because the Special Investigation Task Group (SITG) they put up to investigate on the incident has not yet come up with a final report.

The SITG is composed of the Crime Investigation and Detection Group, the DCPO, and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). The CIDG is the main office tasked to investigate on the matter, she said.

“We still don’t have a final report,” Driz told reporters on Wednesday, March 9.

Previously, though, BFP has ruled out in its initial investigation that the accident was done deliberately after they found a torch and a white plastic container with flammable substance near the evacuees’ shelter.

Photos: Lumad evacuees’ camp, dormitory burned

Orencio Grado, officer in charge at the Intelligence and Investigation Section of Davao City Fire District, said that since the shelter is just a meter away from the wall by the roadside, the suspects could have easily tossed or sprayed gasoline on the shelter and threw a lighted torch to burn it.

Damage estimated to have reached P1 million

The damage is estimated to cost between P400,000 to P500,000, said Grado. On the other hand, Grace Avila, the property’s officer-in-charge said that they estimate the damage to be at P600,000 to P1,000,000 including a motorcycle and other personal properties of the student boarders.

The property, Haran compound, is owned by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.

Jong Monzon, secretary general of Pasaka Confederation of Lumad said they hope the investigation would favor the Lumad evacuees.

“We hope for a speedy investigation to resolve the case and to give justice to the Lumad here in the evacuation center,” Monzon told Davao Today in a phone interview.

‘No one to blame but those who threat the Lumad’

While police are yet to release their findings, Monzon said they don’t have anyone else to blame but the military who are threatening the Lumad people.

“Kung kami ang pangutan-on, wala mi laing pasanginlan kundili ang kasundalohan nga nagabahad sa amoa (If you ask us, we blame only the military who are threatening us),” said Monzon.

The case has been elevated to the United Nations after human rights group Karapatan submitted a formal complaint addressed to UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Internally Displaced Persons on February 29. (davaotoday.com)

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