CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 8 December 2018

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Outspoken religious sister fears for her life

General Santos (UCAN): “The mere suggestion of affiliation to a terrorist communist group poses a serious threat to the lives, dignity and security of the persons singled out,” Sister Susan Bolanio of the Oblates of Notre Dame, said on October 2, condemning her being red tagged—labelled a Communist rebel—by the military, describing it as a “farcical lie.”
 
The sister called on authorities to investigate those behind efforts to red tag her, saying it endangers her life.
 
A social media post on September 28 accused Sister Bolanio and tribal leaders, Dande Dinyan and Victor Danyan, of being part of the Far South Mindanao Region rebel front. The post disappeard by October 2.
 
Danyan used to be chairperson of the tribal group, Taboli-Manobo S’daf Claimants Organisation. He was killed along with seven other tribal people in December 2017 and Dinyan replaced him as head of the organisation.
 
Sister Bolanio, who is executive director of the Church-run Hesed Foundation in General Santos City, Mindanao, has been helping the tribal organisation with its livelihood and development projects.
 
She said the attempt to link her to the rebel movement was a “malicious and vile design to put her life in danger, especially as Mindanao is under martial law.”
 
She said, “To be linked to a terrorist communist group is to condemn a person as all-out anti-government.” 
 
The sister has been actively involved in local and regional special government bodies in the region over the past 30 years. 
 
“How can I be a terrorist, an enemy of the state, when I have been engaging with officialdom?” she asked.
 
Lt. Colonel Jones Otida, commander of the Philippine Army’s 27th Infantry Battalion in South Cotabato province, said his unit was not behind efforts to implicate the sister. “We don’t know where that information came from,” he said in a radio interview.
 
Sister Bolanio said her lawyers were already looking into possible cases to file against the military.

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