Thirty-three Badjao families with 75 members will soon set sail for for Jolo, Sulu, a press release from the Bacolod Public Information Office said yesterday.
On instructions of Bacolod Mayor Evelio Leonardia, the Department of Social Services and Development rounded up the Badjao families from different parts of the city over the past several weeks and housed them at a facility in Barangay Vista Alegre while their return home to Jolo, Sulu is being processed by a multi-agency task force from the Bacolod DSSD and the Region 6 offices of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the DILG, it said.
The city government is providing the families their daily needs of food, drinking water, cooking utensils, toiletries, mats and blankets, and other necessities, the press release said.
Pacita Tero of the Bacolod DSSD said these families agreed to be sent home after they understood that they could become COVID-19 victims or become carriers of the virus when they roam around the City.
The lead agency for this effort is the OCD-Region 6 under regional director Jose Roberto Nuñez. It is now awaiting the acceptance of authorities from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region for Muslim Mindanao for these LSIs.
Once accepted by the BARMM, the Badjaos will be transported by land to Dumaguete City, and then on to Dapitan by sea. OCD-BARMM in Dapitan will ensure their continued travel home to Jolo, Sulu.
“The effort to bring home these LSIs could not have been possible without the help of OCD-Region 6 and DILG-Region 6. We are also depending on the help of Secretary Martin Dino, Presidential Assistant for the Visayas, and Sen. Bong Go for the sea transport of these LSIs to Dapitan, otherwise, we will have no other means of sending these families home. We are grateful for their assistance,” Leonardia said.
Leonardia has already written Gov. Eugenio Jose Lacson of Negros Occidental, Gov. Roel Degamo of Negros Oriental, and Dumaguete City Mayor Felipe Remollo for the passes that may be needed when the LSIs will be transported to Dumaguete City to catch their boat trip to Dapitan from there, the press release said.*