The Lumad people are discouraged from going to Davao City to celebrate Christmas this year as the threat of pandemic could endanger their safety, an official of the City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) said on Tuesday.
Julie Dayaday, supervising administrative office IV of the CSWDO, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Tuesday that the local government would bring the food packs to the Lumad communities instead of them visiting the city to ask for gifts from the local residents.
“If possible, we do not encourage them to go down to the city because there are situations here that may put them in danger. That’s the reason why the city government has been bringing the grocery packs to the hinterlands since the time of Mayor Inday (Sara Duterte),” she said.
Dayaday added that before the pandemic, the local government prepared programs for the Lumad people for 12 days in their respective clusters in the city but these activities were stopped since the pandemic started in 2020.
She said this might not be the best time for the Lumad families to celebrate Christmas in the city as the pandemic is not yet over.
She said some Lumad families who had been staying in the city since early this month were sent home to Talaingod, Davao del Norte and Laak, Davao de Oro last November 19 in coordination with their respective Municipal Social Welfare and Development Offices.
Dayaday also encouraged the local government units to initiate a similar program of distributing food packs to the Lumad communities during Christmas so that the indigenous people will no longer have to visit the cities, which could only expose them to danger.
She said that the city has already started sending food packs to their barangay halls in various communities, including Barangays Gumitan and Marilog Proper in Marilog District, and other barangays in Paquibato and Baguio Districts where indigenous people (IPs) live.
But she said distribution of food packs will be initiated by the barangay officials with social workers starting December 5.
Dayaday said there are 12 barangays in Marilog District, 11 in Paquibato District, and two in Baguio District where IPs are mostly found.
“We encourage the barangay captains to initiate simple programs during the distribution so that they would feel that Christmas is really for sharing and giving,” she said. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)