Some 34 IPs, including a seven-month-old baby and a four-year-old girl arrived at the Cagayan de Oro’s Macabalan Port early morning of July 9, after being rescued by government authorities from inhumane and harsh working conditions in a bangus farm somewhere in the province of Pangasinan.
The IPs rescued, 51 in all, including the 17 who arrived on July 8 via land transport, are from the Manobo-Pulangihon Tribes of Botong, Quezon, Bukidnon, according to NCIP Region 10 Director Pinky Grace Pareja. It was learned that the National Commission on Indigenous Persons and the Department of Social Welfare and Development facilitated the rescue at the national level.
The rescued IPs were escorted to Botong, Quezon by IP leaders from Region 10 NCIP and PNP Regional Office 10.
They were welcomed by Barangay Botong Punong Barangay Nehru Tan and shortly thereafter, a community dialogue was conducted with the following speakers: Mr. Dominandor Gomez from the commissioner of Northern and Western Ethnographic Region, Virginia Andagan of MSWD Quezon, Datu Ilaji Ilawan the municipal IP Representative in Quezon, Bae Soyda Lataran who is the spokesperson of the Manahan Clan from Kimtras and LTC Franklin Fabic who is the CO of 88th Infantry Battalion.
A meeting was held at the Quezon Mayor’s Office involving line agencies to address the immediate concerns like food assistance and jobs, of the rescued IPs.
The proposed interventions of the LGU as a result of the meeting, include immediate food assistance- 15 sacks of rice will be provided to the IPs; job opportunities for 30 persons will be given by Del Monte.
Furthermore, the MSWD and DSWD 10 will evaluate the victims of human trafficking and determine what assistance to be provided to them.
On the issue of land conflict which allegedly was the reason why the IPs sought jobs in other places, the NCIP will conduct an inventory of the CADT areas to know the real situation.
It was learned that of the 17 rescued in Region I, only 14 are from Region 10. They were reintegrated in Bukidnon, 9 in San Fernando town and 5 in Quezon town.
These trafficked persons were provided 6,500 by DSWD Region 1; P3,500 is for their transportation allowance and 3,000 for financial assistance.
Meanwhile, the Regional Task Force in Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict said member agencies like DILG, DSWD, and DOH are already in Barangay Botong to look into the needs of the rescued IPs. The other member agencies are expected to provide other needed interventions.