A shoe factory here recently hired 30 Aetas as part of its commitment to provide livelihood opportunities to the ethnic community.
Asian Sports Apparel Philippines Incorporated (AsaPhil) hired the Aetas after conducting a job fair in San Martin, a native village in Bamban, Tarlac.
“Indigenous people, particularly the Aetas, should feel that they belong to the mainstream Filipino society,” said Sonny Dobles, AsaPhil consultant, adding that the natives do not deserve to experience discrimination and deprivation.
“We feel for the Aetas. The government has failed to provide them education, employment and livelihood and medical services,” he said.
In its Policy Letter No. 01: Code of Human Rights, Basic Working Conditions and Business Social Compliance Initiative, AsaPhilis committed to indigenous population engagement. Living up to that mission, AsaPhil will play an important role in giving equal opportunities to every Filipino regardless of gender, race, religion, age, disability, and sexual orientation, according to Dobles.
“AsaPhil recognizes the collective rights of the Indigenous people (IPs) such as culture, identity, language, access to quality health, and education, basic government services, such as SSS, Philhealth, PAG-IBIG, and others but most importantly access to decent employment, which the company aims to provide,” Dobles said.
Under the program, AsaPhilwill train the IPs to learn new skills that will liberate them from their nomadic lifestyle.
By learning new skills, AsaPhil aims to provide them a decent source of livelihood that will improve their economic and social well-being.
“Getting them employed in a factory setting will also teach them how to think creatively and critically, and make sound decisions that will eventually make them more productive,” Dobles said.
“This will also develop their interpersonal and intrapersonal relations according to prevailing values and culture which will help integrate them into our society, for instance, take pride in his culture and respect that of others, learn to exercise his civil and political rights with corresponding responsibilities, and ultimately to demonstrate a sense of personal pride and national identity,” he added. — Charlene A. Cayabyab