Bajau NGO helps Bajau evacuees PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 22 December 2013 14:53

The Philippine Council for Sama and Bajau, Inc. (PCSBI), a non government organization whose members are from the Sama and Bajau tribe, has been helping the evacuees from the Zamboanga siege, particularly the group of bajaus who still live in tents along R.T.boulevard and are waiting for their accommodation at a new relocation site.

The Bajau evacuees’ place of origin in Mariki and Rio-Hondo was devastated during the siege 23-day siege last September and the government does not yet allow them to go back at this time as preparation is still in process.

The government already approved the transfer of the evacuees to two new sites in  Tulungatung and Taluksangay.     Other evacuees, including few Bajaus,  have already occupied the bunkhouses in the area.  However majority of the Bajaus did not join the group in going to Tulungatung and Taluksangay because the place in Tulungatung is far from the shoreline.

Bajaus prefer to stay along the coastline with their bancas and fishing paraphernalia. Bajaus are also reluctant to go to Taluksangay due to unstable peace and order in the area. Lawless elements and pirates make their hiding places  within the vicinities of different Island barangays, according to Hajji Datu Hussayin A. Arpa, PCSBI president.

Arpa said Bajaus prefer to stay in coastal areas and live peacefully with their livelihood mostly on fishing.

Bajaus desire to attain self-governance in their respective community and if when the city government will support them they prefer  to be free from the hands of abusive non-bajau leaders,.

The IPRA Law mandates that a tribal barangay has to be established for the IP that includes Bajaus.

Arpa said the PCSBI was authorized by the DILG to join as one of the NGO members in the city government rehabilitation program for the affected evacuees that include sama and bajau of Rio-Hondo and Mariki. The PCSBI has been passing resolutions requesting the  support of the government to recognize its existence as NGO and IP organization not for profit but for service to its members.

In another development,  Arpa said the Bajau tribe shall proclaim for the first time in the Philippines its Supreme Bajau tribal leader with a rank of Raja in the person of Dr. Pendatun I. Talib, Al-hadj,  a graduate of Doctor of Rural Development from the Iloilo State College of Fisheries and holder of Master in Public Administration with two baccalaureate degree — Liberal Arts (WMSU) and B.S. Fisheries and current Director of BFAR-Regional Fisheries Training Center Region 9.

Dr. Talib is 65 years old, a native Sama of Arena Blanco, Zamboanga City.