231 rescued Badjaos now back to their hometowns – DSWD

Published June 10, 2021, 6:15 PM

by Merlina Hernando-Malipot

A total of 231 Badjaos – who suddenly arrived in Metro Manila last week – were sent back to their places of origin, the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) on Thursday, June 10 confirmed.

Social workers from DSWD-NCR assisted the Badjaos during their stay 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. (Photo courtesy of DSWD)  

On June 4, DSWD said that 302 Badjaos suddenly arrived in the National Capital Region (NCR). On June 7, 231 of them were assisted for their return to Zamboanga City.

Aside from shouldering their ferry tickets, the DSWD-NCR also 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, DSWD was able to transport the Badjaos from Balik Probinsiya, Bagong Pag-asa Center in Quezon City – where they were temporarily housed – to Pier 4, North Harbour in Manila.

DSWD said that Badjaos boarded the ferry at 11:00 pm and were expected to arrive in Zamboanga on Wednesday, June 9.

Most of the Badjaos, DSWD said, came from Rio Hondo in Zamboanga City; Zamboanga Province; Maimbung, Indanan, and Jolo in Sulu; and Basilan City.

DSWD said that is still coordinating with Region 9 for “further interventions to be provided for the Badjaos.” As reported by DSWD-NCR, there 71 others remained at the center – 23 of whom, are relatives of the four who tested positive for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) who are currently in isolation.

DSWD said that some 44 Badjaos were also endorsed to the NCIP for “proper assistance” after confirming that they were from Pampanga; Cabanatuan City in Nueva Ecija; Batangas; Lucena City; and Manila.

Apart from financial assistance and facilitating their return home, the DSWD-NCR also provided the Badjaos with family food packs, hygiene and sanitary kits, milk, and cooked meals while they were at the Balik Probinsya Center.

Social workers were also asked to provide the Badjaos with psychosocial intervention.