DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 28 Dec) – Four lumads were hit by vehicles while celebrating Christmas this month in Davao City, a city official said.
But Liwayway Caligdong, City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) assistant head, told reporters that the number of road-related incidents with the lumads decreased from last year’s 12, as she claimed lumads are now more “educated” what to do to keep themselves safe from harm’s way while staying in the city.
She added that the owner of the vehicle that hit one of the victims had shouldered the medical expenses.
The official said they are constantly monitoring indigenous people coming from Agusan del Sur, Paquibato, and Marilog Districts in Davao City to ensure their safety and that their health needs are well taken care of.
Caligdong said that there were medical professionals who were sent to the shelters to attend to the medical needs of the lumads who started arriving in the city early this month.
She said that there were a total of 26,812 lumads who took shelter in nine gyms identified as the shelter areas.
“Lack of shelters had been our biggest challenge this year,” she said.
Despite this, Caligdong added they cannot prevent the lumads from going down to the city to celebrate Christmas with Dabawenyos as they have the freedom to go around and enjoy the sceneries.
But she said if they can only have it their way, they wanted to bring the goods they usually receive for Christmas to their areas so that they will no longer have to leave their homes and farms in the mountains.
She said the number of lumads increased by 20 percent this year, which prompted the CSSDO to request the City Engineers’ Office to look for another shelter to take them in. Some of the lumads sleep along sidewalks, as they could no longer be accommodated inside the shelters.
Most of the lumads are housed at Brgy. 5-A Gym with 7,141. The Bunawan Gym recorded the second highest number with 4,770, then Mintal Gym with 3,237, Buhangin Gym with 3,048, Tugbok Gym with 2,640, Matina Shanghai Gym with 2,441, Riverside Gym with 2,246, Toril Gym with 2,150, and V. Duterte, Agdao Gym with 291.
Some of the lumads have started returning to their homes last December 26.