WE condemn the resolution of the Regional Peace and Order Council (RPOC) of Region XI, which recommended the closure of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) sanctuary for indigenous people in Davao City. It is an act of blatant harassment against the displaced Lumad and those who provide sanctuary and support for distressed communities.
The church compound of the UCCP Haran in Davao City has been a shelter for indigenous communities facing threats and other violations from State forces. Through the said compound, the UCCP has been seen as an exemplary and compassionate institution that ministers to the plight of the poor. The only ones who are threatened by the existence of such a facility are those who use faith to serve their own repressive and megalomanic designs.
The RPOC-Region XI also said it will pursue arrests and filing of charges on those supporting the Lumad. Its recommendations were sent to the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict for “appropriate legal action.”
Martial law in Mindanao has been lifted only on paper but with the continuing implementation of Executive Order 70, which outlines militarist actions similar to this closure attempt on the UCCP Haran, Mindanao and the entire country continues to suffer under a de facto martial law crisis.