Four lumad children in UCCP Haran sanctuary were hurt when fire was set off in their evacuation shelter early 2 am at February 24. Two dormitory buildings in the church compound was also torched down minutes after the incident.
Two of the lumad children were treated at the hospital for second degree burns
Lumads were startled in the middle of the night by a thud on one of the roof tents. Fire burst out but the lumads and volunteer watchers put it out and sent the injured to the hospital.
Minutes later, the lumads and dormitory residents were startled by a huge explosion and saw two dormitory buildings ablazed. Neighboring dormers knocked on the doors of the burning building to wake fellow dormers to flee.
The dormers in the two buildings, mostly students and call center workers, were safe, but they lost valuables such as laptops, money, textbooks and clothings.
The Bureau of Fire Protection said their initial investigation pointed to arson as they discovered a backpack with bottles containing gasoline and combustible materials. They also saw the fence at the back of the UCCP compound was cut open.
Save Our Schools joins the Pasaka Lumad Confederation in condemning the incident as a deliberate attempt by suspected state groups who have been attacking the Manobo lumads and students from Talaingod and Kapalong for over a year.
Some 700 Manobo evacuees are in the shelter, most of them since April of 2015, to flee from military and paramilitary harassment in their villages.