Tribal folk ‘discriminated’ on delayed 2014 budget

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014


INDIGENOUS people (IP) in Cagayan de Oro City felt discriminated due to the delay of the 2014 Executive budget deliberation at the City Council.

“For me, the slow deliberation for the IP budget is a form of discrimination,” said Nena Lumandong, coordinator of the City Social Welfare and Development-Indigenous People (CSWD-IP).

Lumandong said this is the first time they will experience recognition from the local government.

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But, Lumandong said, most of the officials in the City Council do not want to recognize them and their rights as IPs.

Included in the proposed 2014 Executive budget is the P1.6 million for the livelihood projects of the IPs.

Aside from livelihood projects, the proposal includes aid for the IP’s Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development & Protection Plan.

“Our dream is to have our ancestral domain and practice our right to self determination,” said Lumandong.

She said if the budget will not be approved, the IPs do not know what to do.

“The entire tribal council in Cagayan de Oro will hold a meeting as soon as possible,” she said, adding that that is what they intend to do if the city’s lawmakers will not look into the budget for the IPs.

Improved city hospital services

Councilor Candy Darimbang said if the City Council only had approved the Executive budget last year it could have improved the services of J.R. Borja Hospital.

She added the hospital lacks the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) that could cater to poor patients that need this service. An ICU admission is expensive in private hospitals.

During the Council’s session Monday, Darimbang cited an incident wherein a child died because of dengue fever.

She said the J.R. Borja Hospital referred the patient to the Northern Mindanao Medical Center (NMMC) because it lacks the facilities to handle cases that need the ICU.

Darimbang said the child died in NMMC.

Chito Morandante, a resident from Barangay Puerto, said the 2014 Executive budget should be approved because it is the money of the people.

Morandante wants to avail the PhilHealth insurance coverage of the present administration.

“The survivors of (Tropical Storm) Sendong should also be relocated based on the proposed 2014 Executive budget,” said Morandante.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on January 14, 2014.

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