Indigenous communities benefit medical and social healing mission in Davao City

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DAVAO CITY (August 27) — Around a thousand members of the Matigsalug tribe from the different communities of Marilog District this city and the province of Bukidnon  benefited the medical and social healing mission Saturday, August 25.

Marilog is the tri-boundary of Davao City and the provinces of North Cotabato and Bukidnon, it is the home  of Matigsalog tribe who are dependent on vegetable farming for a  living.

Majority of Mindanao’s IPs live in far-flung, underdeveloped communities. As a result, their access to health and social services have been limited.

Residents of Buda and Datu Salumay in Davao City and Sinuda, Lorega, and Tawas in Kitaotao town in the province of Bukidnon walked for kilometers to avail the services.

On Saturday, August 25, Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP), National Kidney Transplant Institute (NKTI), and the Buda Community Healthcare Center-Committee of German Doctors provided the residents free health and social services.

According to Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza, the medical, dental and social healing mission activity is in  line with the effort of the national government and private sector  to provide much-needed medical and psycho-social services to Mindanao’s indigenous peoples (IPs).

“This is our way of reaching out to the IP community. We would like to make them feel they have not been forgotten and are now a priority of the government,” Dureza said.

He said this is the reason the national government’s programs aim to promote the principles of greater inclusivity and participation, especially among the vulnerable and underprivileged sectors such as the Lumad.

“Our efforts must be focused on addressing the needs of our Lumad brothers and sisters. They should be given the attention they truly deserve,” he said.

Dureza also said by uplifting the plight of the IPs, the peace and security situation in the beneficiary communities — most of which are situated conflict-affected areas — is also improved.

“We cannot be peaceful and we cannot radiate peace if we are in pain both physically and mentally,” Dureza said.

“Peace and development should not happen one after the other but should take place simultaneously,” he said.

OPAPP’s Conflict Prevention and Management Unit (CPMU), headed by Director Ferdinand Jovita,  also conducted   social healing sessions in the Matigsalug community.

Also part of the mission is to provide the people here with socio-economic packages to alleviate their economic condition.

Secretary Jesus Dureza talks with a member of mission team.-OPAPP photo

Luciana Blando, 57, who has been suffering from chronic asthma, was given special treatment by a group of locally trained therapists from the group called #SprayingPeace.

“I am happy that I was given medicines and therapy as a remedy of my asthma,” she said while being given a massage by a local therapist inside an elementary school that was temporarily converted into a medical clinic.

Dr. Mary Jean Netario Cruz, a naturopathic practitioner, said they have trained local residents in therapeutic massage.

“This is to sustain our intervention and also to provide livelihood assistance,” she said.

Cruz initiated the same program during the rehabilitation following the disaster brought by super typhoon Yolanda in Central Visayas and to internally-displaced individuals of the armed conflict in Marawi City.

The sessions will provide a venue for residents to openly express their fears, anger, and frustrations. They are also aimed at helping victims of armed violence overcome their negative experiences.

Similar healing sessions were carried out in Marawi during and after the five-month siege last year. These sessions were instrumental in bringing back mutual trust and respect among the victims and repair the social fabric that was torn during the incident.

Jimboy Gatuman, whose son benefited the  mission described his experience “Lipay kaayo ko,  gitagaan u g tambal akong anak (I am so happy they gave my son medicine).”

Around 170 volunteers joined the mission. Other cooperators of the medical mission include the Davao Seagull Resorts Development Inc., Davao Doctors Hospital, Davao Medical School Foundation Hospital, Davao Doctors College – Pharmacy Program, City Government of Davao, Davao City Health Office, Davao City Dental Chapter, 901st Brigade, Philippine Army, and the Philippine Pharmacist Association – Davao Chapter.- Editha Z. Caduaya/

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