The Office of the Presidential Adviser for Peace Process (OPPAP) said that the government intervention to the poor community in Barangay Buda, Marilog District will not end with the medical, dental, and social healing service set last Sunday.
“It’s just actually a start to our engagements here among the indigenous people and this is not just a one-shot deal,” Secretary Jesus Dureza told reporters during the event.
“This is only a therapeutic attention to them but the next step of this is how to improve their lives. You cannot attain peace if people have hungry stomachs, grudges, and physical ailments,” he added.
After the medical, dental, and social healing, the socio-economic interventions are set to follow.
Dureza added that the poor IP communities will eventually become peaceful and productive if their health and livelihood needs are addressed.
On why he chose Buda as the recipient, Dureza said it is because they own a nearby resort and a lot of Matigsalogs have sought help from him.
The tribe is usually left out of development efforts because their community is very distant from the city proper.
Only a community hospital operated by volunteer German doctors caters to the need of the patients from Buda and the neighboring Barangays in Marilog District.
Since Buda is located in a tri-boundary area, some barangays in North Cotabato and Bukidnon also seek medical help from the same community hospital.
“So we thought they really need it here. But we are also so happy that the German hospital has been here for about 13 years already, doing humanitarian work and contribution from Germany which are purely voluntary,” Dureza added.
Dureza also mentioned that this is part of the initiative of President Duterte which is to attend to the poor and address the issues of conflict. “You cannot sustain peace without progress and you cannot sustain progress without peace,” he added.
Dureza hoped that they can provide an avenue for the residents to sit down with him to discuss their needed socio-economic interventions. “We cannot decide it for them so they have to tell us and then from there, we can decide on what help we can give,” he said.
Buda Barangay Capt. Delfin Galicia Jr. also expressed gratitude to the German community hospital and its staff even if the number of daily patients overflows to capacity.
Meanwhile, other hospitals in the city proper area are too inaccessible for the residents of the Barangays including the IPs.
“We’ll try to talk to Sec. Dureza if we can be granted with an ambulance. We don’t have an ambulance and we lack facilities to carry our patients,” said Galicia.
Despite having encounters between the leftist groups and the Philippine Army forces last year, Galicia confirmed that as of current, there are no noted encounters.
“This is a great help to us. Actually, the recipients are from six barangays including Baganihan, Datu Salumay, Buda, Lorega, Tawas, and Sinuda,” he added.
Barangays Lorega, Tawas and Sinuda belong to the province of Bukidnon.
Apart from OPAPP, the National Kidney Transplant Institute (NTKI), LGU, Davao Doctors’ College, Davao Medical School Foundation, Southern Philippines Medical Center, City Government of Davao, City Health Office, City Dental Chapter, Philippine Pharmacist Association and the Department of Health sent support through volunteers, medicines and other facilities.
The 901st Brigade of the Philippine Army as well as the Marilog Police Precinct also participated in the mission that served 472 patients—338 medical patients and 134 dental patients.
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