MANILA – The Anti-Money Laundering Council issued a freeze order on the bank deposits and assets of a religious group’s center allegedly used to finance or support terrorism.
In a Resolution No. TF-36 dated March 12, 2021, the AMLC order covers the three bank accounts of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines' (UCCP) Haran Center with the Philippine National Bank amounting to more or less PHP600,000, and a real property under the name of Brokenshire Integrated Health Ministries, Inc.
The freeze order stemmed from the AMLC’s investigation that the assets are used to finance terrorism in violation of Republic Act 10168 otherwise known as The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act.
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.
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).
According to 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,” a press statement on Saturday read.
It added that these IPs are 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).
The four IP complainants, who are members of the Ata-Manobo tribe and were minors "during the time of the commission of the crimes", accused Haran officials of "harboring communist terrorist group (CTG)" and forcing them against their will.
The Regional Peace and Order Council of Region 11 (RPOC-11) on January 15, 2020, approved a resolution seeking the immediate closure of the UCCP Haran Center.
Davao del Norte Gov. Edwin Jubahib said the IPs inside the facility are being exploited by the communist rebel movement for "various terroristic activities."
Davao Oriental Gov. Nelson Dayanghirang, RPOC-11 chairperson, accused the center of violating the Indigenous People’s Rights Act, as well as of committing child abuse and serious illegal detention offenses while engaging in human trafficking.
The UCCP Haran Center reportedly became popular after a Salugpungan school, a CPP/NPA-ran learning center, particularly in Talaingod, Davao del Norte, was closed in 2018 on public demand.
It was also allegedly implicated in the case of kidnapping with serious illegal detention, trafficking in persons, and child abuse after the successful rescue operation of 19 IP minors inside the University of San Carlos Campus, Retreat House, Talamban, Cebu City on February 15, 2021.
One of the witnesses of the case claimed most of the rescued minors are from Talaingod, Davao del Norte who were initially housed at the UCCP Haran Center, Davao City.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)