Lumad families welcome to visit Davao City during Christmas despite COVID-19 surge

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 1 Dec) – The City Government of Davao will not prevent Lumad families from visiting Davao City during Christmas despite the threat of the highly infectious coronavirus disease (COVID-19), Mayor Sara Duterte said.

Lumads from Davao City’s hinterland districts and neighboring areas who came to town for the Christmas season seek temporary shelter at the Buhangin gymnasium in Davao City. MindaNews file photo by TOTO LOZANO

During her live interview over Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) on Monday, Mayor Sara Duterte said she anticipated that some Lumad people will still choose to visit the city for the holidays although gifts will be sent to their homes in the hinterlands as the local government did in previous Christmas celebrations.

She said the Lumads will still need to comply with the requirements to enter the city, declared as “restricted” local government unit (LGU) last November 13, amid the rapid transmission of COVID-19 cases.

“May I remind them that Davao City LGU is ‘restricted LGU’ under JTF (Joint Task Force Shield), so just check whether you are APOR (Authorized Persons Outside Residence) or non-APOR and comply the requirements so that you can go and visit inside Davao City,” Duterte said.

Executive Order 63 of the local government on Friday provides for the guidelines of the city as a “restricted LGU” after seeking assistance from the Joint Task Force (JTF) COVID Shield for enforcement of APOR and non-APOR travels into the city to “insulate other LGUs from the effect of the surging cases as well as to further protect the residents.”

Even with the pandemic, Duterte said the local government will not delay the annual gift-giving to the Lumad families.

The mayor said the practice of the local government to bring the gifts for the Lumads in their communities had lessened the number of Lumad visitors going to the city to join the previous Christmas revelries.

“It will still be the same this year… We’ll see if there will be fewer people who will go down to the city because the CSSDO (City Social Services and Development Office) will bring the Christmas gifts to them,” she said.

She said the local government will coordinate with other LGUs to arrange the transport of the Lumad families and their personal belongings back to their communities.

“So far, we don’t have coordination yet with other LGUs. Usually, our coordination happens upon their return to their respective LGUs… CSSDO will adjust if we have IP (indigenous people) brothers and sisters who will arrive in Davao City,” the mayor said.

As of November 30, Davao City reported a total of 6,480 cases, Davao de Oro with 456, Davao del Norte with 1,050, Davao del Sur with 700 Davao Occidental with 118 and Davao Oriental with 442.

The entire region has 2,755 in total active cases, 6,142 recoveries, and 353 deaths.

Out of the 6,480 cases in Davao City, 2,225 are active, 3,965 are recoveries, and 290 are deaths. (Antonio L. Colina IV / MindaNews)