Lumads want access to food, water and portalets

FOOD, water and toilet.

These are the basic needs that the hundreds of Lumads, who are staying in the city until June 30, have no access to.

For now, the Rizal Park and Almendras gymasiums have become temporary homes of the Lumads where they sleep at night. They find their spot in public benches or right on the stage.

At day time, many of them can be found napping under the shade, while the others dry their clothes on the pavement.

Rody Ulangkaya, a Lumad datu group from Esperanza, Sultan Kudarat, said that “Some of us just hold it in” since the nearby toilets in Rizal Park are clogged.

They also wait for water and food rations to be delivered to them.

Meleton Blag, another datu from Sultan Kudarat, said that there are more men than women in their group. There are no pregnant women and almost no children.

City Social Services and Development Office assistant head Liway Caligdong said the visit of the many Lumads didn’t have any coordination with their office because they are already organized when they came here.

“They have food, vehicles and are prepared to come here,” Caligdong said, saying that no action is needed from their office.

Cenro solid waste management head Dolly Remojo said that her department has provided 10 portable toilets in Almendras Gym.

However, Ulangkaya said that they are not enough.

Representatives from the Kilusang Mayo Uno are hiring the services of a third party to add more portalets in areas to avoid potentially health damaging effects of the Lumads trying to hold their pee and human waste.

“Pee-holding translates into urinary stasis that promotes bacterial overgrowth in the urinary tract,” general medicine practitioner Dr. Nessa Sarona said.

She added that this development of infections (i.e urethritis (inflammation of the urethra), cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder), or pyelonephritis (inflammation of the substance of the kidney as a result of bacterial infection).

Sarona said that even though urinary tract infections are “a very common and easily managed condition in all age groups,” its complications in the long run should still be given a high regard because these can lead to the development of kidney stones, sepsis or even kidney failure.

Domingo Azores, Soccsksargen regional coordinator of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, said there are around a thousand visiting Lumads in Davao City (but police estimate the number to be half of that). They come all the way from South Cotabato, Cotabato City, Sultan Kudarat, Sarangani and General Santos.

Azores said that they are here to show support to incoming president Rodrigo Duterte who will be sworn in on June 30.

He said that many of them are happy with Duterte’s win, and are hoping that the incoming President will make good on his promises to focus on the welfare of workers, farmers, and indigenous people’s rights.

“We hope that he will really end contractualization, provide land for farmers, and defend the rights of the Lumad and Moro,” he said.

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