DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 8 September 2022) – Mayor Sebastian Duterte has ordered a “careful assessment” of every investment proposal for the city’s Paquibato District to avoid displacing and exploiting its Lumad inhabitants, an official said Thursday.
Lawyer Jonah Presto, focal person for Peace 911, told Davao City Disaster Radio (DCDR 87.5) there is a growing number of investors who have expressed interest to invest in Paquibato
But she added that what Duterte wants is to empower Lumad communities to become sustainable instead of relying on possible investors for their livelihood.
She said the local government has lined up agricultural programs for the Lumads to improve and expand agriculture in the district, to empower and keep them away from the influence of the New People’s Army.
She said the government is helping them link with the market for their produce and in forming cooperatives.
Presto said the local government also brought basic services to the insurgency-affected area through Peace 911.
She said Peace 911, initiated by former mayor and now Vice President Sara Duterte, includes peace, economy, good governance, identity and healing, strengthening people’s organizations, and ancestral domain.
She emphasized that areas in Paquibato are not for sale as these belong to the Lumads as part of their ancestral domain.
“Those lands are theirs, do not disturb them. We want to preserve the lands of the IPs (indigenous peoples),” she said.
She said that through Peace 911, the local government has organized skills training for the Lumads and Peace Caravan participated in by various national government agencies to render basic services to them.
Through Peace 911, she said the local government realized the military approach was not enough to address the conflict.
She said bringing basic services and support to residents would make them feel the presence of the government. (Antonio L. Colina IV/MindaNews)