Fil-Am health workers hold clinic for Manobo evacuees

Filipino American health workers and volunteers here in an international solidarity mission held a medical clinic for the Manobo evacuees last August 2.

The volunteers are from the groups Fil-Am Healthcare Workers Association (FAWA) and the Kapit Bisig Kabataan Network based in California, who are part of the week long international solidarity mission organized by SOS Network and other cause-oriented groups helping the indigenous peoples’ rights.

One of the Fil-Am volunteers is Marietta Braganza, who work as a critical care nurse in California for 33 years. This is her third visit with the mission to the indigenous communities in Davao, but she observed this mission is different.

Her previous health missions were in the indigenous communities, but this time around the mission is in a church shelter at UCCP Haran, as some 680 Manobo people from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte and Bukidnon sought refuge after soldiers and paramilitary occupied their villages.

Braganza noted that the stressful conditions in an unnatural environment such as the evacuation shelter contributed to the ailments among IP children and adults, as she reported many lumads suffering from upper-respiratory infection, urinary tract infections and pneumonia.

“I can’t imagine what their worries are from the day to day basis and worrying about what’s going on in their community,” she said.

Braganza and her group echoed the calls to the Philippine government to resolve the problem of the Manobo evacuees such as the pullout of troops and paramilitary in their villages so that the Manobo people can return and resume their farming and schooling activities.

The mission is organized by theĀ  North America-Philippines Solidarity Affair (NAPSA), Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao (InPeace Mindanao), Panalipdan! Youth (Youth for the Environment, Patrimony and Creation), Kabataang Mindanao Resource Center, Kusog sa Katawhang Lumad sa Mindanao (Kalumaran), Father Pops Tentorio Foundation, Salugpongan International and Save Our Schools Network (SOS).

(photo courtesy of Fr. Pops Foundation)