DAVAO CITY – Mayor Sara Z. Duterte on Thursday tagged members of an indigenous people’s rights group as murderers and responsible for the death of two infants housed at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) Haran Mission Center here.
“If you are going to ask me? They were murdered by Pasaka. Their death will not happen if they only provided them enough food, essential health services like vaccines and deworming or anything that a growing child needs,” she said, referring to the Pasaka Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao (Pasaka-SMR).
In an interview over Davao City Disaster Radio 87.5 FM, an irate Duterte lamented the death of an eight-month-old baby and a three-month-old infant inside the facility on May 11 and 18, respectively.
She earlier said she was informed that the eight-month-old baby, who was buried in the adjacent Madapo Cemetery, died of pneumonia prompting authorities to exhume the body on May 13 for autopsy.
The three-month-old infant was reportedly cremated.
Meanwhile, Datu Mintroso Malibato, Pasaka-SMR vice-chair, in an earlier statement said the allegations disseminated by the media that the cause of death of the two babies was due to coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) were false.
Malibato said though the infant tested negative for Covid-19, the baby’s parents were quarantined inside the Haran compound to avoid transmission.
“As far as I remember, I did not say that these infants died due to Covid-19. The doctor told me that there is something wrong in the facility because in a span of 10 days two babies already died,” Duterte said.
Malibato added that it is impossible for them to contract Covid-19 since no one was allowed to go outside the compound because they were not issued with Food and Medicine passes by the City Government since the implementation of Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).
“You did not go out? Somebody from your facility went to the market and bought five sacks of rice. You only provided five sacks of rice to all the people that you hide in there. So do not wonder if people will die because you are not even planning what’s good for them. All you did was babble and babble,” Duterte said in the vernacular.
She added: “You better believe in me. I saw some of your allies who have spent their lives trying to bring down the government. They are all gone now and our government remains. Maybe you should rethink of other ways that can contribute to the future of the children you put in prison in Haran.” (PNA)