Eastmincom spokesman sacked after rebuke from UN rapporteur
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – The spokesman of the Eastern Mindanao Command was sacked on Thursday, August 13, hours after a UN Special Rapporteur called him out for misreporting the latter’s statement on Lumad evacuees in Davao City.
In a statement on Thursday, August 13, Colonel Eduardo Gubat issued a public apology to UN Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani and announced that his resignation as Eastmincom’s spokesman has been accepted following the incident.
In his statement, Gubat clarified that in the Eastmincom press release dated August 7, “the description of Haran Lumads as trafficked persons was the assessment of the AFP's Eastern Mindanao Command and not of the UN Special Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani.”
The Eastmincom’s press statement prompted Beyani to issue a strongly-worded statement on Thursday, denying that he described the Lumad evacuees in Davao as victims of trafficking. (READ: Military grossly distorted by views – UN rapporteur)
To this, Gubat responded: “The effect of the statement was not intentional. I, the Spokesperson of the Eastern Mindanao Command, Colonel Eduardo B Gubat INF (GSC) PA, humbly apologizes to UN Rapporteur Chaloka Beyani for such oversight and for the inconvenience it has brought to the UN Rapporteur.”
He added, "By reason of such statement, Lt Gen Aurelio B. Baladad, AFP, Commander of Eastern Mindanao Command, AFP has approved of my resignation as spokesperson."
Gubat said, however, the Eastmincom "maintains that Dr Beyani in his exit briefing described that the Indigenous People in Haran are manipulated.”
“The Command takes the said observation constructively as guide in pursuing its mandate of protecting the Indigenous Peoples from the manipulation of unscrupulous individuals and organizations and help alleviate their sufferings and achieve the self determination they are working for,” Gubat said.
On July 23, authorities clashed with Lumad evacuees in an evacuation site in Davao City in an attempt to return them to their villages. (READ: Lumad evacuees, activists clash with cops in Davao) – with a report from Karlos Manlupig/Rappler.com