DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio announced the city has prepared an evacuation area for indigenous people or Lumad who will leave their homes in armed conflict areas.
“Yes. No problem. We have a ready evacuation center which is already empty,” the Mayor told reporters in an interview on Monday, February 5.
She was referring to an evacuation center in Los Amigos, Tugbok which was formerly occupied by victims of landslide in the city’s diversion road last year.
She said the city is “ready to protect” the tribal communities which “face the biggest threats” in their area.
“I always advise the military commanders operating here in Davao City that if there are any persons or people who think they should need protection coming from the CSSDO (City Social Services and Development Office), you tell us immediately so that we can act on it,” Duterte-Carpio said.
President Duterte told hundreds of Lumad leaders during the IP leaders’ summit here on February 1, that he will give those who are in conflict-affected areas in Mindanao a temporary relocation in Davao city.
He also offered to provide all their needs including a P20,000 allowance per week.
“Prepare yourselves for the eventual relocation if that is what you want,” Duterte said.
For its part, the PASAKA Confederation of Lumad Organizations in Southern Mindanao region said President Duterte’s pronouncements “cast dark shadow on ancestral lands and Mindanao’s future.”
“He should know our struggles for our ancestral domain, and the right to education for our next generation and for the communities that are affected by the environmental damages brought by mining, logging and plantations. His offers are complete opposite to what he promised to us before,” PASAKA said in a statement.
PASAKA added that the Lumad leaders who attended the IP summit “are actually tribal dealers who possess ancestral domain titles that they will sell to foreign companies, and who recruit paramilitary (forces) to harass Lumad communities.”
“Driving us away from our ancestral lands is no solution, as our lands will be sold to giant foreign plantations and mines. It rather creates more problems because of massive displacement and destruction of our environment,” the group said.
Mayor Sara Duterte also announced that the Davao City Advisory Committee for Peace and Development (DC PEACE-DEV) went to two barangays in Paquibato district to “talk peace” with the communities.
The DC PEACE group was supposedly tasked to initiate talks with the New People’s Army.
Duterte-Carpio added that the DC PEACE-DEV is preparing their budget proposal to implement projects in Lumad communities in 2019. (davaotoday.com)