SOS Network decries torching of lumad evacuation camp

A child rights group vehemently condemned the torching of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran compound in Davao City resulting to the injury of five lumad evacuees including three children and two others.

According to initial reports, over 700 lumad evacuees in Haran Compound were roused early dawn today by the outburst of fire which burned down two dormitories of students and shelters of evacuees inside the temporary sanctuary. The evacuees, who were displaced from their militarized communities in May last year, alleged that the burning was premeditated and intentional.

“Military attacks continue to haunt Lumad, even tormenting those who sought safe shelter. This is an abominable act which only a desperate, spiteful party could do; those who oppose the lumad’s intensifying struggle for genuine peace, land and integrity which have garnered a wide support both nationally and internationally in recent years,” said Kharlo Manano, SALINLAHI secretary-general and lead convener of Save Our Schools Network, during a candle-lighting protest held at Boy Scout Rotunda in Quezon City.

The group is asking whether the Alamara, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and even the ill-intentioned Rep. Nancy Catamco has something to do with the arson incident, especially since these actors have been found to be involved in a series of harassments and unwarranted interventions that have put the lives and security of children evacuees and their families at risk.

“The incident also underlines the Aquino government’s complete disregard of our indigenous peoples. Not one person of authority has been made accountable for the numerous human rights violations proliferating in indigenous communities – the very reason why over 700 Lumads are currently displaced. Their call to pull out military troops in indigenous schools and communities continue to fall on deaf ears. Rather, it is being met with further harassment and violence,” Manano ended. ###candle lighting

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