President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has directed the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to address the issue involving Badjaos roaming around the streets of Metro Manila and other urban areas.
According to Zamboanga City government, DSWD Secretary Erwin Tulfo mentioned this during his visit Monday, November 28, in Zamboanga City.
It said Tulfo’s office would be revitalizing the “Balik Probinsya” program aimed at decongesting the urban communities through equitable distribution of wealth and resources, and the provision of social services in the rural areas.
“We came here today because we want to solve the problem of the Badjaos going to Manila every Christmas. I have a marching order from the President to solve this problem, to fix this problem, which has been going on since time immemorial. These people are going to Manila and come back home. The President wants that solved,” said Tulfo as quoted by the city government.
Tulfo said the problem with Badjaos migrating to Metro Manila and urban communities is that they do not have any livelihood, they do not have work. “What the Marcos administration wants to do is… bigyan po sila ng kabuhayan, bigyan po sila ng trabaho, ng pamumuhay na ikakarangal nila.”
DSWD had sent around 300 Badjaos from Manila back to their respective home provinces, mostly in Basilan, Jolo and Zamboanga recently.
“That’s the reason why we have a payout today para meron silang magamit to start up their small businesses. But we do not stop there because that’s only a band aid solution. The solution is to give them permanent work or business so that they can be with their families, send their children to school,” Tulfo said.
Also, part of the program are the other indigenous peoples (IPs) like the Sama, Yakan or Taosug, who cannot avail of benefits from the DSWD and other government agencies because they do not have birth certificates.
According to Tulfo, the IPs should have been beneficiaries of the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) and other sustainable livelihood programs but because they do not have identification cards, they have nothing to present, their kids cannot go to school.
This, he said, is another problem the DSWD hopes to solve in coordination with the local government units by registering the IPS with the local civil registrars.
“Today, we will start here in Zamboanga to register the IPs who do not have birth certificate. We must start somewhere, somehow,” Tulfo said.
“We are here to help them. This is one of the projects of President Marcos. The IPs are often forgotten and, in this administration, we will bring everybody, we will include everybody,” he added.