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The Davao City government will bring this year’s Christmas celebration to the hinterland communities of lumads — an ‘added extravaganza’ in this year’s Pasko Fiesta celebration.

For the past years every December, thousands of lumads descend from their communities to the city, roaming around in throngs and perform dances and songs in exchange for little cash, used clothing, and other gifts.

The city government provides them shelters, food, and social and medical services.

This year, lumads are still free to come down and join the festivities and the city government will continue to provide them food, and other services for 10 days starting December 1 in six different shelters.

The services will be brought to their communities in Marilog, Paquibato, and Baguio Districts starting December 7 to December 21.

“They will be gently herded back to their respective barangays where various activities are prepared entirely for them,” Maria Luisa Bermudo, Head of the City Social Services and Development Office (CSSDO) said.

This special Pasko Fiesta program will be done for the first time this year. Mayor Inday Sara Duterte touted this as an innovation aimed at making the celebration of Christmas more meaningful for the lumads.

“This is also to ensure their safety while we are celebrating Christmas,” said Bermudo.

The highlights of the Pasko Fiesta for the lumads include a trade fair featuring the indigenous products, health day, birth registrations, mass wedding, children’s day, tribal games, and cultural shows.

A program called Balihudnoy or ‘makeover’ will also be conducted for lumad women.

“We will pamper lumad women through different services that we will give them for free,” she said.

City Administrator Zuleika Lopez said this year’s Pasko Fiesta celebration aims to “make everybody happy.”

Several activities for different sectors have also been slated, including children, persons with disabilities (CICL), children living with HIV-Aids, LGBT, children in conflict with the Law, prostituted women, and senior citizens. CIO