MANILA The 701st Infantry Brigade, the mother unit of the 67th Infantry Battalion, has vehemently denied claims that its operating forces has harassed and took hostage members of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) fact finding and solidarity mission team in Sitio Cabuyao, Barangay Binondo in Baganga, Davao Oriental last April 20.
The UCCP team was in the area to look into the alleged extra-judicial killing of Kagawad Cristina Jose, a local leader of Typhoon "Pablo" survivors, and the environmental plunder that made the impact of the typhoon so devastating for local communities.
In addition to this, the team is investigating reports of corruption and militarization of humanitarian assistance and rehabilitation funds intended for "Pablo" survivors.
"Hostaged in Cabuyao? They were stranded in Cabuyao after being abandoned by their driver. There is already a rescue effort by 67th Infantry Battalion. We categorically deny that there is hostage taking. They are on their own in that Sitio. They did not coordinate their activities with the local government unit (LGU), now they are asking for help, so the LGU and military are finding ways to assist them from being stranded, not hostaged," Col. Leonardo Rey Guerrero, 701st Infantry Brigade commander, said.
Earlier, UCCP secretary general Bishop Reuel N. O. Marigza, expressed deep concern after receiving reports that their team was harassed and held hostage by the military. (PNA)