ROUGH CUTS| Haran incident fallout

 YES, we agree that the lumads who were encamped inside the Haran compound of the United Church of Christ of the Philippines (UCCP) at the Brokenshire complex should not be called as victims of human trafficking; much more by the military whose activities in the mountains of Talaingod were cited by the indigenous people as primary reason of their evacuation. And we agree the necessity of the military’s Eastern Mindanao Command spokesman Col. Eduardo B. Gubat’s apology to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons Dr. Chaloka Beyani whose statement he admitted to have quoted out of context in the military’s press release.

   But for us it was not enough reason for the colonel to quit his post as spokesperson, much more being ordered to do so. It must have been how he have heard or read the statement. And if the officer gave his own interpretation of the statement of Dr. Beyani as what he claimed he heard or read it, that is how it is, and should be.

   Moreover, we assume that before the press statement of the military was released to the media it must have been given the green light from Colonel Gubat’s immediate superior at the East Mincom, not the higher-ups from Fort Bonifacio.

     In other words, the apology made in the media by Colonel Gubat would have been enough. Consider this, if the military’s spokesman resigns every so often because of certain lapses in quotation of statements, all the more that the military, or the Army for that matter, will be bludgeoned in the propaganda game with the rebels.

     We think that despite the supposedly well-oiled information machinery of the military, it is still way behind the rebels when the battle for the hearts and minds of the people is concerned.

     No, it’s not because the military lacks good writers or speakers to be able to effectively communicate. It is simply because it is hard for the military to get out of the very negative image that it acquired, rightly or wrongly, in all the years that it has been fighting the insurgency movement in the country.

     It is just unfortunate that the Haran incident was apparently brought about by poor planning, lack of coordination, and perhaps the participation of the military and the police in the “storming” of the compound.

     Even the use of the terms “hostage” and “rescue” was ill-advised. How could it be hostaging of the lumads when there was proper approval of the UCCP officialdom of their stay in the Haran compound?

     If there was “hostaging” at all, then the victims could not have been the lumads but the management of the Brokenshire complex so it would allow the lumads inside.

     And it should have been purely civilian authorities who negotiated with the leaders of the lumad group and those who supported them to go back to their highland communities.

     Had they done this approach we are certain there would have been no commotion and unnecessary injuries on both sides.

     Come to think of it, the Haran incident fallout has even extended outside the compound and over two weeks since. Remember the alleged abduction of four tribal leaders who were reported to have executed affidavits against their fellow lumads who they claim were behind their flight to the city proper?

     And this resignation of the East Mincom spokesman is still very much a part of the Haran “rescue” operation.


     Well, it’s early Christmas for employees of Davao City Hall. Those who are qualified will receive (they might have already received) their so-called Productivity Enhancement Incentive (PEI). And what a good timing it is since this week is Kadayawan sa Dabaw festival. So, city hall people will have enough in their pockets to foot expenses that they may incur during the celebration days.

     We can only assume that the city is enjoying a windfall of money from its various sources since the City Council could not have passed the supplemental budget that carried the funding of the PEI without certification from the City Treasurer that there is available money for the purpose.

     But wait, by productivity it means good performance. So, how will the city determine who are   entitled and who are not? We hope City Hall is religiously implementing a no-nonsense performance appraisal system in order to fairly determine who deserve the PEI.


Posted in Opinion