BACOLOD CITY — Mayor Alfredo Abelardo Benítez appealed to Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas to withdraw his declaration of Deputy Mayor El Cid Familiaran as persona non grata after the confusion over the arrival of 80 Badjaos to Iloilo from this city .
“I have expressed my concern that you may be able to recall your deputy mayor’s declaration as persona non grata. Technically, there were failures that were not the work of the vice mayor,” Benítez said last week.
He added that he was still waiting for a response from the mayor of Iloilo City.
Last month, 80 Badjaos were supposed to return to their provinces in Mindanao aboard a cargo ship via Panay Island.
But instead of going home, they landed at the Dumangas port in Iloilo and stayed there.
Upon learning of the incident, Treñas issued Executive 039 declaring Familiaran persona non grata or “undesirable and undesirable” in the city of Iloilo for the “lack of coordination and poorly planned” transfer from Badjaos.
Both Benítez and Familiaran apologized for the mistake. Treñas accepted the apology but did not withdraw the statement against the deputy mayor of Bacolod, whom he blamed for the “lack of coordination” in the transfer to Badjaos.
Familiaran was interim mayor at the time as Benítez was out of the country.
Benítez told reporters Monday that a program was needed to find a total solution to the Badjao community’s nomadic culture and provide them with a better life in their places of origin.
He noted that it has been a cycle of these Badjaos going to other parts of the country only to be sent home later.
The Badjaos are known to beg on the streets of the places they arrive at.
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