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DSWD-NCR Assists Sama Bajau in Metro Manila

The Department of Social Welfare and Development-National Capital Region (DSWD-NCR) is continuously reaching out to the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) especially Sama Bajau engaged in begging activities. On this, the DSWD provides social services based on the assessment and recommendation of the social workers in partnership with 17 LGUs in Metro Manila.

 

Part of the provision of the services in response to the influx of Sama Bajau in Metro Manila is the Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families and Indigenous Peoples especially Sama Bajau which was conceptualized during the Inter-agency meeting held on March 19, 2012.

 

At the regional level, DSWD-NCR convened the Task Force Sama Bajau to access them to basic social services composed of Regional Offices of DSWD, DILG, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), DOH, DepED, and NSO, two (2) Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) for Indigenous Peoples in partnership with the Local Government Units of Paranaque, Taguig and Manila. This inter-agency body aims to ensure provision of social protection services for Sama Bajau, including but not limited to food, clothing, transportation, burial, medical, livelihood, alternative parental care of children, temporary shelter, and emergency relief assistance, among others.

 

 

The Regional Task Force Sama Bajau facilitates the provision of programs and services to Sama Bajau in identified transient areas in Metro Manila (Brgy. 704, Dakota, Manila; Brgy. San Dionisio and Moonwalk, Paranaque; and Brgy. Maharlika, Taguig City). At present, some 200 children-beneficiaries were provided with educational assistance program amounting to Php2,000 per child, livelihood assistance at Php10,000 per family for 30 families, and 100 street adults were also engaged in community service with financial assistance to augment their daily needs.

 

Medical missions were also conducted in the identified transient areas in coordination with Local City Health Office to access the Sama Bajau to health services.

 

Another program for Sama Bajau is the advocacy in promoting the culture of Sama Bajau to stop discrimination against them through conduct of fora with different schools and universities, agencies and law enforcers. Likewise, a group of Sama Bajau with 51 members was organized and performed in some agencies and selected schools and universities in Metro Manila. This is part of  showcasing  their culture and informing the public about their sector.

 

Meanwhile, the reached-out Sama Bajau who have no relatives in Metro Manila are referred to DSWD’s Jose Fabella Center for temporary shelter. Sama Bajau are allowed to stay at the center until such time that they will be able to return to their provinces. Sama Bajau with relatives in identified transient areas in Metro Manila are being reintegrated to their respective communities prior to their discharge, a validation of the attending social worker of the pieces of information were carefully conducted at the processing center. Local City Social Welfare and Development Offices (CSWDOs) through the Regional Task Force Sama Bajau shall continuously monitor and provide services under the Comprehensive Program for Sama Bajau in their transient areas.

 

Yesterday, December 16, 2013, the Regional Task Force Sama Bajau with the Bajau themselves held a Pesta Igal-Igal 2013, “A celebration of Bajau dance and music, A Celebration of Life” (Magsukul Kalluman). This aimed to:

 

  1. Raise awareness of target participants and guests on the Comprehensive Program for Street Children, Street Families, and Indigenous Peoples especially Sama Bajau;
  2. Promote Indigenous Peoples rights especially against discrimination for Sama Bajau;
  3. Prevent Sama Bajau in identified transient areas from begging on the streets this yuletide season, showcasing the culture of the Sama Baju through presentation; and
  4. Celebrate thanksgiving appreciation of Sama Bajau on NGOs, academe and committees in identified transient areas.

This initiative was spearheaded by the DSWD-Social Technology Bureau (STB), with four (4) committees composed of:  (1) of Documentation/registration/database of Sama Bajau; (2) Education for Bajau Children and Adult; (3) Community Education for Bajau Culture; and (4) Access to Basic Social Services.

This post was written by:

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