In a joint press statement on December 11, the human rights group, Karapatan in North Cotabato and Bayan Muna condemned the ransack which they said was likely done by elements or agents of government intelligence offices.
The statement narrated that neighbors around the Bayan Muna office in Midsayap were awakened at 12:05 a.m. by howling dogs. A witness said three men came out of the Bayan Muna office bringing something and that they boarded a pick-up vehicle.
Another witness saw a man coming out of the office with a sackload of things. The witness fired a gun, reportedly sending the man running after their getaway vehicle which sped off. The sack loaded with materials was left behind, the witness said.
The Bayan Muna volunteers of Midsayap were then in Kidapawan City to attend the Torch Parade and Cultural Show on December 9 and the rally on December 10 in celebration of International Human Rights Day.
The volunteers learned about the ransack only at around 12:30 p.m.
Taken from the Bayan Muna Office were one set of computer – with monitor, CPU, UPS, AVR and cables, P800 cash, books and other reading materials, the statement said.
The statement did not indicate if the sackload of materials supposedly left behind on the street, had been retrieved.
It said the rooms were also forcibly opened and that the ransack team went through their clothes and personal things. It did not indicate, however, how many rooms the office has.
The joint statement said they believe the office was ransacked to gain information through the computer and reading materials and documents. The other valuable items in the office were not taken.
The statement also pointed out that what happened in the Bayan Muna office in Midsayap could not be considered an “isolated case” because many Bayan Muna offices as well as offices of progressive groups have suffered the same fate.
They listed the alleged abduction by the 27th and 39th Army Infantry Battalions of two staffmembers of the Disaster Response Center, Mary Bernadette Solitario and Lourilie Naiz on November and the ransacking of the office of the Farmers’ Institute for Development in Kisante, Makilala on September 27 and November 21 this year.
The statement also added that justice has not been given those who were summarily killed this year – Salvador Dante, Jr., Alvino Tacdao, Jay Allunar and the Vigo couple Maricel and George – even as the killers remain on the loose. (MindaNews)