Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy M. Taguiwalo joins the leaders of the Lumad and Moro groups as they express their unity pact in pursuit of peace and development in their ancestral homes during the celebration of the Solidarity Festival in Koronadal, South Cotabato.
Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) Secretary Judy Taguiwalo joined thousands of Lumad and other tribal groups in Koronadal, South Cotabato, as they celebrated on Wednesday, August 24, their Solidarity Festival through a "Sadyandi," or unity pact.
The Sadyandi, a Lumad term, was participated in by eight tribes and Moro groups who expressed their support for the on-going peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
In her message to the Lumad and other IPs, Sec. Taguiwalo expressed solidarity with them and their struggle against destructive mining and logging activities that have resulted in the mass displacement of many Lumad and farmers' communities. She also expressed her support for their campaigns in defense of their human rights, including their efforts to reclaim and return to their ancestral lands that are being taken over by mining companies, corporate plantations, and logging companies.
In the meantime, Sec. Taguiwalo also explained that the DSWD wants to improve the services and assistance it can provide to Lumad communities. "Specifically we are working with other government agencies such as the Department of Education to build more schools for Lumad children and youth, and to ensure that the projects of the DSWD do not go against the welfare and culture of our Lumad brothers and sisters. We support their struggle to recover and return to their ancestral lands," she said.
Sec. Taguiwalo explained that the DSWD aims to provide services to all marginalized sectors and their communities. The department's new slogan is "Maagap, Mapagkalinga at May Malasakit na Serbisyo sa publiko (efficient, caring and compassionate service)."
She also assured them of President Duterte's support for their plight. She shared that the President has specifically mentioned that he does not want the Kidapawan clash to be repeated.
"The peace talks between our government and the NDFP aim to bring to the table the substantive agenda for peace based on social justice. It is good that the Lumad and other IP communities support the peace negotiations and that they themselves are issuing their calls to both parties. We all want peace, and we all want genuine change in the Philippines," she said.
In her first day as DSWD head, Sec. Taguiwalo said that under her leadership, the Department will exert full efforts to address and remedy the impact of military operations on the livelihood, safety, security, schools and welfare of farmers and Lumad; and most importantly help displaced Lumad return to their ancestral lands.
Source: Philippine Information Agency