The Municipality of Kapalong in Davao del Norte dismissed reports that the Lumads it helped rescue last month are now back in the UCCP Haran compound.
In a text message with Jamal Magantor, the information officer of the Kapalong LGU, he said that as per monitoring of the local government unit team and Indigenous People Mandatory Representative (IPMR), they are still in their respective villages.
On May 18, 31 people reportedly escaped the compound by climbing over the fence. They are now back with their families in Kapalong, Davao del Norte. Meanwhile, left-leaning group, Pasaka, claimed that the “escape” was a mere publicity stunt.
There are reports earlier that the group were back at the compound nor the group were allegedly joining the New People’s Army (NPA) group.
But in the text message Magantor denied the said report saying that (the group) “they are still living with their relatives.”
The Davao Police Regional Office also launched an investigation whether the families inside the UCCP Haran are being held against their will.
Maj. Jason Baria, the spokesperson of PRO XI, said the police are looking at violations on human trafficking, IPRA law, serious illegal detention, and violation of RA 7610 (Child Abuse Law).
“The discussion was not limited to the Haran 31 but all other incidents involving UCCP haran,” Baria said.
He said the investigators will interview the 31 Lumads who escaped to give significant information. One of the priorities right now is to identify the leaders inside the UCCP Haran, Baria said.
In its Facebook page, the Pasaka, a group reportedly composed of Lumads, claimed that plainclothes soldiers accompanied Datu Basing Balanban, Dol-om Tumagsa, Jovelyn Tiklunay—who were described as members of the Alamara—to force some families to leave the compound.
“Even if we want to go home, we are alarmed at how the Alamara, the military, and the state are forcing us to do so,” the group said in a statement. “Even if we want to return to our communities, would there be peace if the Alamara and the military will continue to harass us? This is the very reason why we evacuated from our communities.”.”