Tension grips UCCP Haran, IP leaders attempt to rescue members

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DAVAO CITY (Updated) — Tension gripped the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) Haran compound along Fr. Selga Street here, as tribal leaders from Davao del Norte attempt to rescue their relatives whom they believed have been held hostage by the militant groups.

About 20 IP leaders led by Datu Guibang Apuga swooped Haran at around 8:00 in the morning in the hope of convincing those whom they believed where held by the militant groups inside the compound.

Informed Newsline sources revealed, the IPs inside Haran were transferred from their tents to the Bishop compound because they were tipped off by “someone” from Davao del Norte about the planned rescue.

The Pasaka-SMR in a facebook post claimed “Bolo-wielding Alamara members are encircling the compound and some have already entered Haran.”

Indigenous Peoples leaders from Davao del Norte attempt to rescue their relatives inside the UCCP Haran Compound.-Photo Courtesy: Pasaka-SMR

Pasaka-SMR in the same post said some of these paramilitary are relatives of the evacuees.

In said post, Pasaka said ” It is likely the AFP again is using the Manobo to fight fellow Manobo, to intimidate us and forced us to return to our community without resolving our issue. We stand our ground that Haran is our sanctuary and paramilitary must keep out.”

The tension heightened when UCCP Bishop Hamuel Teguis wen to the gate to talk to the IP leaders, it was only defused when San Pedro Police Chief Melvin Violan arrived and ordered the IPs leaders to surrender their bolo and negotiation started.

Later in the afternoon, Davao City Police Office Chief Col. Kirby kraft arrived and an hour later Davao City Vice Mayor Sebastian ‘Baste’ Duterte arrived and the negotiation took place but until now, it is not clear what transpired.

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The IPs who escaped from UCCP Haran in 2019.-Photo Courtesy: PIA XI

The Regional Peace and Order Council has earlier passed a resolution seeking its closure as they claim the IPs are being used by the church leaders and the militant groups to stage anti-government protest.

The RPOC officials said the military pullout which the militant groups want to happen, will never happen because the communist insurgents are using the IPs in their crusade and are continuously recruiting them to join the rebel movement.

“Why will government allow these terrorists to dictate government? the government agenda is to ensure that the IPs are living in a peaceful environment in their communities and should not be used as propaganda arm of the militant groups,” an RPOC official said.

Teguis who addressed the people around the periphery through a public address said, Haran is a sanctuary and not engage in any acts contrary to laws, they also want a dialogue with government officials.

The government has been conducting dialogue with the UCCP leaders and other groups inside Haran since 2015, but nothing happened, as the government claimed the conditions set by the militant groups are impossible to happen.-Editha Z. Caduaya

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