PHOTO: Literacy and Numeracy Program Coordinator Melissa A. Comiso (center) with RMP-NMR coordinating body members and staff in last year’s Lumad March in Davao City.
The coordinator of the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines – Northern Mindanao Region (RMP-NMR) Literacy and Numeracy (LitNum) Schools was harassed by an unidentified man while seeking medication for a child in one of their supported communities.
Melissa A. Comiso, on July 7, was at the Agusan del Norte Provincial Hospital, helping a member of their Parents-Teachers Association of the Simontanan Community Learning Center get medication for her one-year old child who was suffering from diarrhea.
Upon leaving the emergency room, she saw a man walking towards her. She avoided him, calling for a friend to accompany her out of the hospital.
At the parking area, while she was about to start her motorcycle, the man appeared again. He took her hand and attempted to give her a number saying, “Ayaw na og palag ma’am kay kahibalo na mi sa imong trabaho. Kontaka ni nga number. I am from the military. Kung gusto ka mamaayo imong kinabuhi, kontaka ni nga cellphone number. (Don’t resist ma’am because we already know your work. Contact this number. I am from the military. If you want to improve your life, contact this cellphone number.)”
A doctor arrived and Comiso, from fear, ran towards the doctor. The man did not follow. However, when Comiso was already on her motorcycle, she saw that the man waited for her and tailed her. She went to fetch her son at the Sacred Heart School run by the Missionary Sisters of Mary and took a commuter motorcycle to evade her pursuer.
On July 9, 2016, someone also tried to break into Comiso’s office in Butuan City. Some of the glass window panes had already been removed, but the intruder was not able to get in.
The incident is the latest of a string of harassments against RMP-NMR’s LitNum teachers. Krystal Salbigsal, the coordinator for the Bukidnon schools, and Rema Acenas were receiving threats through messages on her cellphone. Their office in Malaybalay City was also visited and put under surveillance by unknown men. Daniel Lampusay was slapped with trumped-up charges, accused of being a member of the New People’s Army.
Comiso had also been charged of kidnapping after she helped in the facilitation of aid to Banwaon evacuees in early 2015.###