BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – The Army’s brigade command here has denied issuing a gag order for evacuees in Himamaylan City where a series of skirmishes in its uplands have displaced thousands of residents as Himamaylan’s administrator remains mum on the controversial barring of reporters yesterday, 13 October 2022, from going inside an evacuation center to interview displaced residents.
“I will first meet with my team and will update you; we will issue a statement,” Mary Jane Faduga said in a text message to DNX early in the afternoon yesterday, 13 October 2022.
She was not able to update DNX, however, and was not returning text or calls until this morning before this story goes to print
Several reporters who went to Himamaylan City to cover Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson posted on their personal Facebook accounts photos and text about the refusal of personnel to letvthem inside the evacuation centers.
One post referred to a center in Barangay (village) 1.
Thousands of residents, at least 18,000 – 15,000 of them from Carabalan village alone – now seek temporary shelter in at least 15 centers set up by the city government and run by its social welfare and development office.
The displacements were caused by a series of skirmishes between government forces and Communist rebels over more than a week today starting on 6 October 2022.