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DSWD facilitates return of Badjaos back to their home towns

Badjao

Social workers from DSWD-National Capital Region assist the Badjaos during their stay at the Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Center in Quezon City; during their transport from the center going to North Harbour, Manila; and until they boarded the ferry back to their places of origin.

The Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) confirmed that 231 out of the 302 Badjaos who suddenly arrived in the National Capital Region (NCR) on June 4 were assisted for their return to Zamboanga City on June 7.

DSWD-NCR shouldered their ferry tickets and provided them with P5,000 financial assistance per family or individual.

With the help of the Inter-agency Council Against Trafficking, Philippine Coast Guard, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Department of Justice, and Philippine National Police-Women and Children Protection Center, the Department transported the Badjaos from Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Center in Quezon City, where they were temporarily housed, to Pier 4, North Harbour, Manila.

The Badjaos boarded the ferry at 11:00 pm and are expected to arrive in Zamboanga on June 9. Most of them came from Rio Hondo in Zamboanga City; Zamboanga Province; Maimbung, Indanan, and Jolo in Sulu; and Basilan City. DSWD is still coordinating with Region 9 for further interventions to be provided for the Badjaos.

Meanwhile, DSWD-NCR also said that 71 others remained at the center, 23 of whom, are relatives of the four who tested positive for COVID-19, and are now in isolation. Some 44 Badjaos, on the other hand, were endorsed to the NCIP for proper assistance, after confirming that they are from Pampanga; Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija; Batangas; Lucena City; and Manila.

Aside from facilitating their return home, DSWD-NCR also extended the Badjaos with family food packs, hygiene and sanitary kits, milk, and cooked meals while they were at the Balik Probinsya Center. Likewise, they were provided with psychosocial interventions conducted by social workers.