MAYOR Maria Isabelle Climaco-Salazar has thanked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef) for assisting the City Government in the implementation of the pilot birth registration project that benefited some 200 Sama Bajaus in Zamboanga City.
The grateful mayor joined UNHCR representative to the Philippines Shinji Kubo and Unicef Philippines representative Oyunsaikhan Dendevnorov and other officials in distributing birth certificates to Sama Bajaus in ceremonies held on Tuesday, December 10, at the Centro Latino Convention Hall.
Salazar, in her message, reaffirmed her commitment to protect the rights of the Sama Bajaus and to work hand in hand with other agencies to improve their quality of life.
UNHCR and Unicef are providing technical assistance to the project under the UNHCR-Unicef Joint Strategy for Addressing Childhood Statelessness.
The pilot registration initiative also supports the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and is a significant advance towards leaving no one behind.
Salazar said the distribution of the birth certificates was the culmination of the pilot birth registration project for Sama Bajaus, who, based on studies, face documentation issues due to their itinerant way of life and because of generations of non-registration among families.
The pilot registration project kicked off October 2019 targeting 1,500 people in the community under the leadership of the Department of Justice.
The project is also in line with the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022 and is a concerted initiative involving the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, the Commission on Human Rights, and the village Council of Kasanyangan, this city. (SunStar Zamboanga)