DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 27 Feb) – Despite the violence that erupted at the picket line outside the regional office of the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) here Wednesday as “Pablo” victims , nobody is filing charges against any party, according to an agreement signed by parties involved Wednesday evening.
The sixth item in the seven-point agreement written in Cebuano said that the DSWD, the police and members of the Barug Katawhan (the organization of Pablo victims) promised not to do any act of retaliation to any of the parties and actions that may cause failure of the agreement.
This means that no one will file charges against any party amid the violent dispersals that happened last Tuesday and Wednesday morning at the barricade. Included in this agreement was the release of two protesters, Daniel Pinang, 33, and Conrado Capili, Jr., 24, from ComVal, who were detained at the Sta. Ana police station after the riot that happened Wednesday morning.
The agreement, finalized around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday after four hours of closed door negoatiation, was witnessed by Rev. Sarly Templado and Sr. Noemi Degala of Balsa Mindanao; Josephine Frasco, provincial social welfare and development officer of Compostela Valley (ComVal), Col. Caezar Cabuhat, chief of the Sta. Ana Police Station here, and Cesario Joel Espejo, director of social marketing service of the DSWD central office.
It was signed by Karlos Trangia, Cirila Anding and Grace Corso of Barug; and DSWD Assistant Secretary Camilo Gudmalin and DSWD-11 officer in charge Regional Director Priscilla Razon.
Other points in the agreement:
1) The two parties agreed that there is a need to validate every purok/sitio of a barangay if there are residents who have not received enough relief goods, and the validation will be done together by the Barug, Balsa Mindanao, provincial and barangay local government units (LGU) and DSWD-11.
2) The number of victims who have not received enough relief goods shall be determined immediately during the validation as it will be the bases of the distribution of relief goods.
3) The relief operation will continue until June 2013, or within six months since December 2012.
4) Barug Katawhan, DSWD-11, provincial LGU, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Office (PSWDO), municipal LGU-MPSWDO, barangay LGU and Balsa Mindanao agreed to expedite the validation of the amount of relief goods to be distributed and which sitio or purok in a barangay has not received enough or not at all; and that the list of those people will be primarily provided by the Barug Katawhan.
5) For the Barug’s request that its members will be able to bring even small amount of rice on their way back to their villages, the parties agreed that the DSWD will give them 100 sacks of rice.
It was clarified after the signing of agreement that the 100 sacks of rice will be deducted from the 10,000 sacks of rice demanded by the Barug Katawhan.
6) They agreed that in case of any problem that may affect the signed agreements, the individuals who will discuss the matter are Barug leaders Trangia, Anding and Corso, Balsa Mindanao’s Templado and Degala, environmentalist Francis Morales, and DSWD’s Gudmalin and Razon.
After the signing, Trangia said they were thankful that they will not be facing any charges with the DSWD and the police, and that the detained members would be released.
Regarding their demand for the DSWD’s transparency, he said it was not discussed during the negotiation. But, he added, the people have the right to ask the agency for public documents anytime.
Gudmalin told reporters that the department will validate on the field all allegations against the DSWD’s relief and rehabilitation operations.
He said the negotiation took so long as there were some sensitive discussions that required confidentiality on the issues raised by parties.
Asked why the delay of the negotiation when the barricade began last Monday afternoon, Gudmalin said the DSWD regional office tried to have a dialogue with the protesters since Monday but could not find the leaders.
He said he received an order from Secretary Corazon “Dinky” Soliman last Tuesday to go to Davao and help resolve the issues raised by the protesters.
For his part, Trangia said, “We have been demanding for a dialogue with the DSWD since the start of the barricade. That’s the reason why we came here in the first place. Many of our leaders were trying to contact Razon and even Soliman. But, all of them were too adamant and did not to consider our demands.”
He pointed out that while Razon refused to face us, many of our members had been harassed, beaten and arrested by the police. He added, “Makasubo lang nga gipasagdan nila nga mahitabo pa ning tanan usa sila nakipag-istorya sa amoa (We’re only disappointed that they allowed all of these violence to happen before they talked to us.)”
Mayor Sara Duterte ordered the police earlier Tuesday to disperse the barricade and allowed them to use force should the protesters use violence.
The Barug leaders immediately held a press conference at the picket line and marched towards the Assumption College of Davao where they would stay overnight. (Lorie Ann A. Cascaro / MindaNews)