CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/18 March) — Food relief bags had been sent to 840 Lumad families in San Fernando town in Bukidnon affected by the prolonged dry spell or El Nino phenomenon, an official said Friday.
Department of Social Welfare and Development Secretary Dinky Soliman said relief workers who went to the affected communities reported growing signs of malnutrition among Lumad families.
“The lumads survived by eating root crops which still can be found but the protein and other nutrition is lacking already. Malnutrition has set in especially among the Lumad children,” Soliman said in a press conference here.
She said they hired porters to carry the bags weighing 35 kilos each to make the eight-hour trek to the villages.
“We saw the necessity of hiring porters for the relief supplies to reach the communities as soon as possible. Our field officers have reported already seeing several serious cases of malnutrition among Lumad children,” she said.
Aside from the direct food aid, the DSWD in Northern Mindanao was implementing the Cash for Work and Food for Work programs to ease the impact of El Nino among the Lumads in Bukidnon and in the provinces of Lanao del Norte, Misamis Oriental and Misamis Occidental.
Key priority towns where the programs were being implemented are San Fernando, Kibawe, Impasugong, Cabanglasan, Kadingilan, Kitaotao, Malitbog, Quezon, Lantapan, and Talakag in Bukidnon.
Also considered as priority areas in Misamis Oriental are Claveria town and Gingoog City.
Soliman said the programs were being implemented through Lumad leaders and not the local government units to prevent fund misuse during the campaign season. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)