BY GILBERT P. BAYORAN
There are no more Badjaos in Negros Occidental, Provincial Incident Management Team head Zeaphard Gerhart Caelian said the other day.
This was after the provincial government of Negros Occidental and local government units of Sagay and Victorias, in coordination with the Office of the Civil Defense 6, facilitated recently the return of 136 Badjaos from Sagay and Victorias to their places of origin in Mindanao, except for those who are married to Negrenses.
Caelian, however, admitted that the provincial government of Negros Occidental cannot give any assurance that the Badjaos, who were repatriated to Mindanao, will no longer return to the province.
Of the 136 Badjaos, 107 went home to Zamboanga, 24 to Basilan, and seven to Sulu.
Before they left Negros Occidental on board a ship from the Dumaguete City port in Negros Oriental, the Badjaos underwent swab tests and processing to ensure that they are Covid-free, Caelian said.
A Badjao tribal leader, who earlier tested positive for Covid, yielded a negative result after a second round of swab testing done by the Philippine Red Cross, he added. Caelian said the Department of Social Welfare and Development provided the Badjaos with meals, travel and pocket money of P3,500 each, aside from assistance from other LGUs.*