• GILBERT P. BAYORAN
The city government of Kabankalan in Negros Occidental has facilitated the return of 23 members of thecBadjao tribe, also known as “Sea Gypsies” to Zamboanga City on November 12.
The Badjao tribe is an indigenous population whose culture and livelihood are tied to the sea, and are scattered along the coastal areas of Tawi Tawi, Sulu, Basilan, and some coastal areas of Zamboanga City.
The repatriation effort was facilitated by the Kabankalan City Social Welfare and Development (CSWD), with the support of Mayor Benjie Miranda and police chief PLt.Col. John Joel Batusbatusan.
The Badjaos, who had been staying in the Kabankalan City proper for several days, were safely transported via Ceres Liner passenger bus, accompanied by personnel of the City Social Welfare Development office to ensure their return to Zamboanga.
The city government of Kabankalan also provided them with transportation allowance and food packs from the DSWD regional office.
City Administrator Atty. Mac Lord Zafra, in a statement said the initiative not only demonstrates the commitment of Kabankalan City to address the needs of marginalized communities but also “highlights the dedication of its leaders in fostering inclusivity and social welfare.”*