The City Social Welfare and Development Office (CSWDO) was able to send back on Monday a total of 1,250 Indigenous People (IP) from neighboring towns who arrived in Davao City since the start of December.

CSWDO Officer-In-Charge Julie P. Dayaday, in an interview with the Davao City Disaster Radio Monday, said that in coordination with the Department of Social Welfare and Development 11, they were able to send the families hailing from Kapalong and Talaingod via bus on December 3, 2023, and families from Tandag and Agusan on Monday, December 4, 2023.

The CSWDO data as of 2:30 pm on December 4, 2023, revealed that out of 1,395 individual visitors (970 are adults while 425 are children)– only 145 individuals remain at the evacuation center.

It was on December 3, when a team composed of the CSWDO, City Engineer’s Office, and Public Safety and Security Office (PSSO) rescued these visitors who were staying on the streets, and flyovers and housed them at the Mahayag Evacuation Center in Bunawan District, where they were also profiled.

“Sa atong pagprofile sa ilaha naa ta’y households nga 584 (As we profile them we found out that in all they consist of 584 households),” Dayaday said, adding that a huge number of them arrived in the first week of December.

Based on the profile, 411 households with 635 adults and 279 children are from Talaingod Davao Del Norte; 153 households with 247 adults and 125 children are from Kapalong Davao Del Norte; 20 households with 88 adults and 19 children are from Bukidnon; 29 adults and one child are from Tandag; and 8 adults are from Agusan.

“Sad to say sa pakighinabi nato sa ila diri sa evacuation center, ingon nila nga mamasko sila diri para sa pagkaon, masubo ta kay ang ilang kinitaan ipalit og ilimnon, sigarilyo og sugal, mao tong naay cause og away sa Agdao flyover (Sad to say that upon our interview with them at the evacuation center they say that they beg for Christmas gifts, however, we are troubled to know that from their income they buy alcoholic drinks, cigarettes and pay for gambling, it was also the cause of the incident at the Agdao Flyover),” Dayaday said.

“Nagpadayon ang pagpauli sa tagsa-taga ka lugar (We continue to send them to their homes),” Dayaday said, adding that since September they already coordinated with the neighboring towns to address the concern of arriving IP visitors.

Dayaday said that they urged the IP visitors to ask for Christmas gifts from their local governments, and she urged the local governments to give them focus.

“As much as Davao City gusto mutabang, naa pud ta’y limitasyon, tabangay lang ta ug atoang mga IPs pud hatagan nato og pagtagad sa lain-lain nga lugar (As much as Davao City may want to help but we also have limitations, we should help each other and our IPs we should give them focus and attention, in areas where they live),” Dayaday said.

Dayaday said that they do not want to repeat the experience of Davao City where IP visitors were allowed to stay at the gyms every December as this only caused negative effects such as sickness at the evacuation center, lack of basic services such as water shortage, hygiene issues, and allowing their stay also exposed children who beg on the streets to danger. CIO