3 Davao lumads injured in traffic accidents

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 17 Dec) – Three lumads were injured in two separate traffic accidents Wednesday at the height of the holiday season’s influx of indigenous people coming down to the city from the hinterlands, an annual event that city officials have tolerated for years.

The incidents happened near the barangay hall of Toril, which houses around 2,000 lumad families, and Buhangin.

Injured were Palabio Omaling, 15 years old and a resident of Barangay Mapula, Paquibato District; Aldrin Cabantao, 9, of Sitio Pamuhatan; and Wilslie Apang, 6, from Marilog,

According to the Davao City Police Office, Omaling was injured after being hit by a motorcycle driven by Jefrey Sacupayo around 7 a.m. near the gym in Buhangin.

The DCPO report said the motorcycle was traveling along CP Garcia Highway headed to Panacan when the motorcycle hit Omaling. Sacupayo and Omaling were rushed to the Southern Philippines Medical Center for treatment.

Cabantao and Apang, meanwhile, were reportedly sideswiped by a motorcycle near the shelter area in Toril, according to the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO)

The CSSDO said there are almost 12,000 families in the city’s eight shelters as of Wednesday.

The incidents happened barely a week after Mayor Rodrigo R. Duterte warned motorists of being “extra careful”  when driving on the streets, owing to indigenous people who may not be aware of the traffic rules in the city.

The mayor also tasked the barangay councils to monitor the shelter situation upon hearing reports of some lumads already sleeping at the road shoulders, especially in shelters like the one in Barangay Buhangin.

Meanwhile, the sectoral representative for indigenous peoples asked the city council to draft an ancestral domain sustainable development and protection plan (ADSDPP) to address the needs of Ata tribes people in Paquibato District.

At a speech delivered at Tuesday’s regular session at the Sangguniang Panlungsod, IP representative Berino Mambo-o Sr. said it was useless for IPs to receive ancestral domain titles without any development plan in place.

“No matter how large such land, if left without development, the economic state of the lumad will remain as it is,” Mambo-o said.

Mambo-o cited the case of the Ata people of Paquibato, which were awarded a certificate of ancestral domain covering at least 87,000 hectares.

The city’s Comprehensive Land Use Program (CLUP) has already identified Marilog and Paquibato districts as exclusive zones for agro-forestry development program, as well as for upland agricultural development.

Marilog and Paquibato, along with Baguio district, are known to be inhabited by indigenous people.

The document identified barangays Baganihan and Datu Salumay, both in Marilog, as tourism development zones, conforming to tourism standards on eco- and cultural tourism.

The CLUP maps out the government’s plans for the city, from 2013 to 2022.

In Barangay 5A, the barangay chair said the shelter area located in Bankerohan has been slowly decongested, with lumads relocating to their places of origin.

“The lumads have started going back home since Monday this week,” 5A chief Edgar Ibuyan Jr. said at the sidelines of Wednesday’s forum on rabies held at the third floor of the Sangguniang Panlungsod.

He said the Bankerohan gym is considered to be a “critical area” since it housed IPs from different tribes belonging to different areas.

Sheltered at the gym since early December were around six truck-loads of more than 1,000 families of IPs from Paquibato, Marilog, Bukidnon and Cotabato.

Some have decided to go back home using trucks from the City Engineer’s Office, with others hiring jeepneys using their own money.

Ibuyan said the management of the lumads comes from around 14 years’ worth of experience.

“During the first day, we have had a lumad giving birth at the shelter,” Ibuyan said.

He added that there was also one lumad that got drunk and had to be arrested after causing a commotion.

The barangay chair said it was a policy at the Bankerohan shelter for lumads who were armed with bolos and knives to surrender the items to authorities while at the gym.

The lumads are being housed at the Bankerohan, Matina, Buhangin, Bunawan, Toril, Tugbok, Mintal and Calinan gyms.

Last Sunday, Duterte tasked Traffic Management Center chief Rhodelio Poliquit to monitor the situation at Buhangin after hearing reports that lumads were already sleeping on road sides because of the congested gym in the area.