We, the Care for the Nomads and Bajaus in the Philippines (CNBP), constituted by different Bajau organizations coming from Sulu, Basilan, Tawi-tawi, Zamboanga City, Cebu City and General Santos City, headed by Bishop Angelito R. Lampon, OMI, DD who represent this group in the CBCP, had once again assembled as CNBP tries to realize its vision for a peaceful and self-reliant Sama-Bajau community where human dignity is respected and cultural/spiritual identity is preserved and freely exercised.
Last May 29-31 2014 was the 8th National Assembly for the Pastoral Care of Nomads and Bajaus in the Philippines held in Zamboanga City. During this 8th Assembly, the CNBP had talked about the varied concerns of Samal Bajaus and highlighted some issues related to Zamboanga Siege last September to October 2013. As a result of the Zamboanga Siege, a lot of people were displaced that includes thousands of Samal Bajaus. The Samal Bajaus right now are scattered along Cawa-Cawa Boulevard in Zamboanga City where you can find the destitute situation of our Samal Bajau brethren. The CNBP had identified issues related to that situation of our Samal Bajau brethren like poor health sanitation, lack of means of livelihood, difficult opportunity of education for children, insensitivity to Samal Bajau cultural norms and spiritual practices, vulnerability of women and children to sexual harassment and other human rights related issues.
Saddened by the plight of our Samal Bajau brethren, the CNBP came out with immediate proposals that our concerned leaders in Zamboanga can consider:
• Relocation and/or Permanent Sites for Samal Bajaus be located in coastal areas exclusively for them and culturally and economically favourable for their livelihood.
• Assistance for the education of Samal Bajaus towards their empowerment
• Given the increasing number of mortality rate, the CNBP is one with the appeal of the Samal Bajaus to LGU and other agencies concerned to seriously address the health, sanitation and environmental issues confronting them.
We also appeal to the general public to support this call of the Samal Bajaus for we believe that the collective security and progress of Zamboanga City can only be achieve through the security and progress of our multicultural constituents.