AUTHORITIES are studying the filing of a case against the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran after a total of 31 individuals escaped from the compound over the weekend.
Police Regional Office-Davao spokesperson Police Major Jason Baria said a meeting was presided by lawyer Peter Paul Tombo, prosecutor from the Regional State Prosecutor-Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (RSP/Iacat).
The possible crimes discussed during the meeting are human trafficking, violation of Ipra law (law on Indigenous People’s Rights), violation of Republic Act 7610 (Child abuse protection law), and serious illegal detention.
“The discussion was not limited to the Haran 31 but all other incidents involving UCCP Haran. Investigators discussed to the group the assessment on the initial investigation conducted. It was agreed that on Thursday, the group will interview again the Haran 31 and other surrenderers who may give significant information for the case build-up,” Baria said.
On Saturday, May 18, a total of 31 lumads reportedly escaped the UCCP Haran compound in Madapo Hills, Davao City and were rescued by Kapalong Municipality employees and tribal leaders.
Based on the report, Jovelyn Tiklonay, 23, a resident of Purok 3, Barangay Suawon, New Corella, Davao del Norte, personally appeared in a police station in Kapalong and told the police that her fellow tribe members jumped at the back fence to escape from the compound and go back to their homes.
They came from Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte and were requesting for a ride from Kapalong local government so they could go back home.
Of the 31 rescued, 21 are children.
They already returned to their ancestral domain and were provided with assistance and underwent psychological debriefing.
Pressed on who are the personalities that will be charged, Baria said they are still working on it as the case build-up is still ongoing.