With all due respects, the first meaning of haram is sanctuary. That was what the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) intended haran to be. Through time, however, it took on the second meaning of haram, and that is, forbidden by law.
The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act is now showing its teeth where it hurts Haran the most – their pockets.
When the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) issued a freeze order on the bank deposits and assets of a religious group’s center allegedly used to finance or support terrorism, a few noticed this milestone development in our national security since it came on the “bubble” of Covid-cases almost hitting 10,000 a day.
The AMLC order covered the three bank accounts of the UCCP Haran Center with the Philippine National Bank amounting to more or less P600,000, and a real property under the name of Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries, Inc, as per its Resolution No. TF-36 dated March 12, 2021, stemming from its investigation that the assets are used to finance terrorism in violation of Republic Act 10168.
While the UCCP Haran Center located on Fr. Selga Street, Madapo Hills, Bankerohan, Davao City, Davao del Sur, has become a sanctuary for beleaguered indigenous peoples (IP) in Mindanao, verified reports, however, showed these IPs, because of their ignorance and being unlearned, are exploited, enticed to join anti-government protest actions, brain-washed to hate the government, and soon to become members of the communist New People’s Army (NPA).
Perfect cover, but now burned onto transparency.
According to local government security officials, in the guise of formal education, the IPs, including minors, are indoctrinated with a series of communist ideologies, principles, and beliefs into being “red warriors” by Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) members posing as teachers in the so-called learning institution.
“At first, they are being used as a force multiplier in the conduct of series of protest actions against the government, then to join ‘exposure’ during the CPP/NPA anniversary celebrations, and to join the ‘tour of duty’ wherein they were taught how to use firearms and explosives as their defensive and offensive tools to defend their ancestral lands,” an official statement read.
A compendium of evidence had been submitted by the government showing that the IPs have been exposed to armed activities, forced labor, involuntary servitude, and are used in armed conflict and other exploitative purposes.
In mid-September of 2020, some four members of an IP group from Davao del Norte pressed charges before the City Prosecutor’s Office against NPA leaders and administrators and board of directors of the UCCP Haran Center.
At least 48 personalities connected with the UCCP Haran Center were charged with child abuse, forced labor, trafficking in person, and violation of humanitarian law, said lawyer Marlon Bosantog, Legal Affairs Director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Nothing to fear from anti-terror laws
The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act was enacted in June 2012, but its enforcement was hampered without a deliberate enforcement mechanism, especially when it comes to terror groups.
According to Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Jr., when President Rodrigo Duterte issued Executive Order 70 creating the National Task Force for the Elimination of the Local Communist Armed Conflict in December 2018, the Act’s true north was already ascertained.
NTF ELCAC institutionalized a whole-of-nation approach in obtaining exclusive and sustainable peace-giving us an effective solution against communist-terrorists.
As I will slowly narrate, the Haran controversy erupted as early as 2015. It took the order six years in the making but this could have been longer without EO70. In fact, the communist terrorists and its “legal” front have been non-stop in demonizing NTF-ELCAC through lawfare and red propaganda instilling the fear factor among religious organizations.
But last August, 2020, Parlade clarified that “If members of the religious sector are really doing what they are mandated to, then they have nothing to fear from law enforcers,” in response to the filing of the Association of Major Religious Superiors in the Philippines (AMRSP) of the 30th petition against the anti-terrorism law before the Supreme Court.
“But if they allow themselves to be exploited and manipulated by communists in the religious sector, specifically the Christians for National Liberation (CNL), then definitely they will be in trouble with the law,” said Parlade, who is also the commander of the AFP Southern Luzon Command.
He added that this is what happened to the Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation, Inc. (MISFI) and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP) who allowed the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) to use them as a means of getting funds from the European Union, European churches and other organizations.
Once collected and sent to the coffers of the CPP, the money is used to build schools and educational centers used by communist terrorists in radicalizing their children or minor recruits.
“These funds to build Salugpungan schools, ALCADEV(Alternative Learning Center for Agriculture and Livelihood) CLANS, TRIFPSS (Tribal Filipino Program of Surigao del Sur) and many other alternative learning centers for IPs, for the purpose of radicalizing the children capitalizing on children’s innocence, radicalizing them after projecting an inutile government in order to inculcate a culture of violent revolution, Parlade confirmed.
“Let’s end this hypocrisy of the CNL members hiding under the cloak of MISFI, AMRSP and RMP that admitted giving the ‘Supamil‘ (Suporta sa Pamilya) of rebels, funds for NPAs, and other requirements of the NPAs.
It is unfair to the genuinely religious who have dedicated their lives to lift the spirits of those vulnerable suffering from misery and poverty,” he said.
Haran currently holds indigenous peoples who the CPP-NPA-NDF allege are victims of “militarization” and “military abuse” in their ancestral domains in Talaingod and Kapalong in Davao del Norte, Kitaotao and San Fernando in Bukidnon, Compostela in Davao de Oro and Arakan in North Cotabato.
Parlade said “No such ‘militarization’ nor ‘military abuse’ exist however. This is a lie foisted on our indigenous brothers and sisters to scare them into leaving their homes and entering Haran.”
But the true abusers have been exposed.
At present there are around 200 indigenous peoples (from as high as almost a thousand when this CPP-orchestrated evacuation started in 2013) and around 50 personalities identified with this communist terrorist group-affiliated legal organizations, inside Haran.
Communist fronts operating inside Haran are the Pasakaday Salugpongan Kalumunan (Pasaka), the Trade Union Organizers under the Revolutionary Council of Trade Unions, Kadamay, Gabriela, Salugpongan, CEGP, NUSP, LFS and Karapatan. Haran also harbors within its walls, personalities with outstanding warrants of arrest, for instance Jong Monson, Jay Apiag and Lindy Trinilla, serving as the convergence point for communist terror fronts and personalities.
In sum, the UCCP Haran is therefore the center of propaganda, education and recruitment by the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF that have been exploited a most vulnerable sector—our indigenous peoples– for various revenue streams that include extortion, human trafficking, and fundraisers that scam local and international government and non-government organizations in the US and the EU.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.