138 Badjaos repatriated

The 138 members of the indigenous Badjao tribes repatriated from Negros Occidental arrived in Zamboanga today, December 6, Provincial Administrator Rayfrando Diaz said.

The Badjaos from Victorias and Sagay cities were repatriated by the Negros Occidental provincial government to Mindanao with the help of the Office of Civil Defense 6, Philippine National Police, Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the Philippine Coast Guard, he said.

The Victorias and Sagay governments also provided assistance to those who were repatriated.

The Badjaos were brought to the provincial Capitol in Bacolod City and then a convoy of vehicles brought them to Dumaguete City where they boarded the St. Michael the Archangel ship that sailed for Zamboanga Saturday night, Diaz said.

The Victorias government worked with the province of Sulu through Gov. Abdusakur Tan, the Negros Occidental provincial government and OCD 6 for the repatriation of the 94 Badjaos from Victorias to Jolo, Sulu, a post on its Facebook page said.

The Badjaos, also knows as “sea gypsies,” are from Tawi-Tawi, Sulu, Basilan and Zamboanga del Sur, Zeaphard Caelian, Negros Occidental Provincial Disaster Management Program Division head, said.

The nomadic Badjaos are high risk for COVID-19 since they are often seen begging on the streets, he said.

They were also repatriated as part of the “Balik Probinsya,” program of the government, Caelian added.*

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