City to tap PPA in banning of Badjaos

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Thursday, April 24, 2014


THE City Government of Bacolod through the Department of Social Services and Development is planning to coordinate with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA) to prevent Badjaos from entering the port in the city.

Social Services and Development head Pacita Tero said they need to hold a dialog with the PPA and they plan to meet with the agency officials next week.

Badjaos are an indigenous ethnic group of the Philippines and other parts of Southeast Asia. They are sometimes called “sea gypsies.”

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Mayor Monico Puentevella said the presence of Badjaos is a perennial problem of all mayors in the country.

The matter was brought to his attention and he has sent the Badjaos away, he said, but after a few months they came back.

“It’s a never ending problem. I sent them on a boat to another place but they have come back,” he said.

This is because when there is a big event, they gather so this is a problem that needs to solved every year, he added.

Tero said the Anti-Mendicancy Team has been going around the city to locate them and temporarily house them at the Balay Pag-asa.

However, the Badjaos also leave the Balay Pag-asa and transfer from one place to another.

Tero said they have informed the Badjaos that the city has an ordinance that prohibits them from begging for alms, and their pictures are also taken to identify them in case they continue to stay in the city

According to the Badjaos, who are staying outside the warehouse of a sugar mill at the Reclamation Area at night, they are from Zamboanga and they are seeking refuge in the city due to the armed conflict from where they come from.

They plan to go home as soon as peace is achieved in their area, they said.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on April 24, 2014.

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