We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ― Winston Churchill

Reaffirming its commitment to give back to the communities especially in this season of giving, PMO MOC personnel took part once again in the annual Family Day of the Bajaus, Indigenous Peoples from the South of Mindanao, on 01 December 2018 at Jesper Beach, Bonbon, Cagayan de Oro City.

The Family Day was organized by the City Social Welfare and Development Department Psychosocial Association of the Philippines, Inc. (CSWD-PSAP),  in partnership with the PPA PMO MOC, DSWD Region 10, City Tourism Office, DepEd, and City Health Office. Aside from fun and joy, PSAP also aims to educate the IP group on parental responsibilities awareness, rights of a child, personality development, and plastic bag regulations per City Ordinance No. 13378-2018 during this Family Day. A representative from the City Health gave a brief discussion about nutrition and exclusive breastfeeding.

35 families or 150 individuals received early Christmas goodies that include clothes, various edible goods, and toys and shoes for the children. Most of the Bajaus were migrants who came all the way from Basilan and Iligan. These families include those who were formerly residing along the shorelines proximate to the Port of Cagayan de Oro prior to their relocation. In return, the Badjaus showcased their musical talents: little children sang their Bajau version of the kid’s song, ”Deep and Wide,” while teenage ladies performed a traditional dance in their sparkling and colorful costumes. Their finest weavers also brought some of their products like handmade scarfs and woven mats.

Mr. Eddie Teul, their group leader said that he encouraged his fellow Bajaus, even those who were living in far flung areas who traveled early in the morning just to come here in the city, to attend this once-in-a-year event. “Aron maglipay-lipas sila (So they can have fun),” Teul remarked.

The PMO MOC had been engaging with the Bajau Group since 2016, as one of the members of the Bajau Task Force who relocated at least 50 Bajau families from the nearby shanties along Area Q of the port to their places of origin and resettled 16 non-Bajau families in Canitoan resettlement site. The vacated area has hence become an expanded carbon sink area for the port and PMO MOC continues to participate in activities for the benefit of this ethnic group.  — By IMR Lam