Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib and Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. led the turn-over in Tagum on Friday of immediate assistance packages to six indigenous peoples families who were rescued by the Davao del Norte provincial government from the Haran facility in Davao City early this month.
Jubahib lauded the 28 individuals who all belong to the Ata-Manobo tribe of Talaingod, Davao del Norte, for their courage to leave Haran where they have been held by the facility’s personnel since last year.
“We know that you want the government to help you—to give you a home and jobs so that all of you will be able to earn a decent living and lead peaceful lives,” Jubahib said in the vernacular as he addressed the victims comprised of men, women, and children.
The Haran, which is being run by the United Church of Christ in the Philippines, gained prominence over the past several years for reportedly housing around 500 IPs coming from the provinces of Davao del Norte, Davao de Oro (formerly Compostela Valley) and Cotabato.
According to a former member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army whose name has been withheld to ensure his security, the Haran is being used by the communist organization as a venue to indoctrinate and bring new members into their fold.
The once CPP-NPA member bared that this effort is part of the CPP-NPA’s strategy to discredit the government by making IP communities in Mindanao believe that it is “irrelevant” and is not doing anything to protect their rights and uplift their welfare. The CPP-NPA-NDF fronts have created a perception of the continuous oppression, militarization and government’s neglect of IPs.
From 2013 to 2015, he said the Reds launched a campaign called “Taktikang Bakwit” where it instructed leaders of the peasant group PAsakada-I, SAlugpongan, KAlimodan (PASAKA) to “influence, organize and recruit” members of IP communities.
In 2015, the ex-CPP-NPA cadre brought an estimated 700 IP members from Talaingod to the Haran. It was there where he established a Salugpungan school and began to indoctrinate the people on the communist ideology and eventually, convincing them to support the armed struggle.
Based on the testimonies of the rescued victims, the living conditions in Haran were very difficult. The bunkhouses where they stayed were so small they slept like sardines. Food was also very limited and there were a lot of instances when they missed their meals.