Press Release
February 25, 2016


Vice-presidential frontrunner Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero wants authorities in Davao City to conduct a thorough investigation into the burning on Wednesday of an evacuation center hosting hundreds of displaced lumads.

"Nararapat ng agad kumilos ang mga kinauukulan ng syudad upang matukoy kung sino ang nasa likod ng pagsunog. Mas higit na kailangan ngayon ng mga kapatid natin lumad ang kalinga at katarungan," said Escudero, former chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights.

Initial reports showed that five lumads, including two children, were hurt during the fire that broke out in Haran Center, which shelters Manobos from Davao del Norte and Bukidnon who sought safe refuge in the church-run dormitory.

"Those who have less in life should have more in law. That's the basic principle in social justice," the veteran lawmaker said.

"Naniniwala ako na ang bawat Pilipino, lumad ka man o hindi, ay may pantay-pantay ng karapatan at hindi kailan man dapat dumanas ng kahit anong uri ng diskriminasyon.," said the independent, who is running under the platform of "Gobyernong may Puso" with Sen. Grace Poe.

Frequent killings in the lumad communities, widely believed to have been perpetrated by armed groups with ties to the military, have forced these indigenous people to leave their homes.

In 2014, Escudero co-authored Senate Bill 2358, also known as the Anti-Discrimination bill, along with Poe, to make any form of discrimination a "crime against humanity and human dignity."

The bill prohibits discrimination on the basis of ethnicity, race, religion or belief, sex or gender or sexual orientation, language, disability, educational attainment and other forms of discrimination.

"Naniniwala ako na sino ka man, saan ka man nanggaling, dapat pantay ang pagtigin sa'yo ng estado at pantay ang mga karapatang tinatamasa mo bilang isang mamamayan," said Escudero.

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