Harassment still hounds displaced Lugait residents

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014


ASIDE from the perils the displaced families of Barangay Calangahan, Lugait town are experiencing as they take refuge beside the highway, harassment also hound them.

Gina Lubguban, vice-chairperson of Alyansa ng mga Biktima ng Demolisyon sa Calangahan (Albidec), said just last week, there were unidentified men looking for some of our members. "Later that night, there were also men who went around our shelters," she said, adding that none of them knew the men.

Another man came to the community looking for Lubguban, claiming that he pawned a helmet and a motorcycle to her.

Lubguban said she did not know the person and that she never accepted anything pawned.

Another case was on April 6 when an unknown man took pictures of her after they had their vigil. The man quickly went away when Lubguban and the other looked back at him.

Aside from the harassment, Lubguban said the residents are experiencing other forms of oppression.

She said that their fishermen found it more difficult to access the seashore because the path leading to it has been fenced.

The fishermen were also forced to give fish to the security guards who are watching over the perimeter because “masuko sila kung dili sila tagaan ug isda,” she said.

Lubguban also alleged that the local government unit of Lugait had not been giving them help from displacement such as food and shelter but the assistance only come from the provincial government.

Vice-governor Joey Pelaez said: “Well, I think they (Lugait LGU) are doing something. The mayor is exasperated already. The LGU is doing something, but the other side is not cooperating…Pag government kasi, it takes time [for] things to be negotiated. [We need to] follow a lot of process, rules, and regulations.”

Aside from the main responsibility of the LGU-Lugait, Pelaez said that it is the governor who asked from the Sangguniang Panlalawigan for budget, assistance, and the like.

On the death of Nixon Tungaw, one of the Albidec members who was allegedly killed when the residents and law enforcers clashed in December last year, Lubguban said the case has not been taken to court yet due to lack of evidence.

Hannah Lou Gumapan, administrative officer of the Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), said the province will be tapping the services of lawyer Marites Sangual for the case.

“Definitely, file-lan man gyud [ug kaso]. Pero sa karun, mag-isa-isa sa ta,” Gumapan said.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on April 29, 2014.

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