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Davao City, Philippines

Mayor says death of two Haran children was ‘murder’

May 28, 2020 - Thursday 6:05 PM by Funny Pearl A. Gajunera

Article Banner Image TROUBLE IN HARAN. Two children take notes in this file photo taken at a makeshift school inside the UCCP Haran Compound in Davao City. Mayor Sara Duterte on Thursday said the deaths of two babies at the compound was a form of “murder.” ARJOY M. CENIZA

DAVAO CITY -- Mayor Sara Duterte on Thursday lashed out at a Lumad organization over the deaths of two children inside the Haran compound of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP).

This after PASAKA-SMR, a confederation of Lumad organizations, issued a statement denying that the cause of death of the two children was COVID-19.

In her regular radio interview with Davao City Disaster Radio, the mayor said what happened to the two children was a form of “murder.”

“Kung akoy pangutan-in nimo murder to siya, murder by PASAKA. Mao na ang rason kung nganong nangamatay ang nga bata,” she said.

(If you ask me it was murder, murder by PASAKA. That was the reason the two children died.)

She said the two children would not have died if they had been taken care of properly.

“Di ba kung inyoha nang gipakaon og tarong, inyoha man nang gigunit-gunitan dinha. Inyoha nang gipakaon og tarong ang mga bata, inyoha nang gipa check up, tagaan og mga health services, bakuna, deworming, ug unsa pa nang mga angayan buhaton sa mga growing infant and growing child, tan-aw ninyo mamatay to? Dili. Kay maagapan mana,” she said.

(If you had fed them properly, if you given them medical checkups, provided medical services, vaccines, deworming, and everything that an infant and growing child need, do you think they would die? No. It could have been avoided.)

THIRST-QUENCHING. A man gives a boy a drink of water in this file photo taken inside the UCCP Haran compound in Davao City. ARJOY M. CENIZA

“So murder by PASAKA na,” she added.

(So that is murder by PASAKA.)

The first child from Haran to die was an eight-month-old baby who died on May 11. The body was exhumed by the police for autopsy.

The second was a three-month-old baby who died on May 17. According to reports, the child’s body was cremated.

The Haran Compound has been a sanctuary for a number of years for Lumad from Talaingod and other parts of Davao Region who were reportedly fleeing the miltary.

In its statement, PASAKA had said it was not possible for the two children to have contracted COVID-19 since the Lumad in Haran do not even have food and medicine (FM) passes and therefore could not go out.

SEALED. A health officer use plastic cover to seal the isolation area at the Sirawan control checkpoint from both dust and the novel coronavirus. ARJOY M. CENIZA

“How can they say that there is COVID-19 case inside Haran and the Lumad if there is no mass testing conducted? First and foremost, no one went outside from the sanctuary during the enhanced community quarantine because we are not given Food and Medicine pass from the LGU and they told us that we should not be even here,” the group said.

The mayor, however, said a PASAKA member had gone out of Haran to buy rice at the Bankerohan Public Market when the lockdown started. 

“Wala mo kagawas, sir? Kinsa man diay tong nigawas gikan dinha nga nipalit og bugas sa Bankerohan?  Dili to taga diha sa inyoha? Nga gikan man gawas sa inyohang gate? Pila ka bugas, five sacks sukad sukad sa pag sugod, five sacks lang jud inyohang napalit na bugas para sa inyohang gitagoan dinha sa Haran. Di mo matingala nga ang mga tao nangamatay na?” she said.

(You didn’t go outside, sir? So who went outside to buy five sacks of rice in Bankerohan? He was not from Haran? He came out from your gate. He bought five sacks of rice. Since the lockdown started only five sacks of rice were purchased. And you wonder why the children are dying?)