Delta vows to resolve Aeta woes

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – Governor Dennis “Delta” Pineda urged the Aeta leaders to strengthen their ties with the Provincial Government in raising their community concerns amidst issues on land grabbing.

“Pumunta po kayo sa opisina ko kung may mga concerns kayo. Hindi ninyo naman kailangan idaan sa rally. Bukas ang tanggapan ng Kapitolyo para sa inyo,” Governor Delta said.

He bared this during a dialogue with the Aeta Community Leaders held at the Capitol Compound here.

Sonny Serrano, representative of the Central Luzon Aeta Association, bared grievances on behalf of his tribe to the Governor.

This, following reports that Roman King, de facto Leader of the Aetas of Baranggay Inararo in Porac town, had allegedly embezzled the shares and income of their Barangay from Puning’s Hot Spring Resort for his personal interest.

Data from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), records shows that from April 2016 to April 2019 alone, King has already accumulated at least P16 million out of the shares and income of Barangay Inararo from the resort.

Gov. Delta expressed disappointment and vowed to call the attention of the officials involved.

The Governor also assured Aeta leaders that he will personally ask the local government units of the concerned communities to immediately investigate the matter.

“Papa-investigate natin ang mga iyan, kung may mga violations na nakita, ako mismo ang tutulong sa inyo na mahinto ang sistemang iyan,” he assured the leaders.

Moreover, the IP leaders recognized the plan of the Governor and pledged their full cooperation, as safety and welfare of their families are also their primary concern.

To ensure all ancestral lands and titles are well-preserved and accounted for, Gov. Pineda tasked NCIP to intensify monitoring of the Aeta Community.

“Kayo sa NCIP dapat mas paigtingin niyo pa intervention ninyo sa mga Aeta. Hindi lang tayo hanggang sa pagbabantay ng mga lupa nila. Do not limit your intervention to them para mas ma-monitor natin ang kalagayan nila,” he urged.

“As NCIP, dapat kayo ang katuwang nila. Tulungan niyo sila. Give them guidelines kung paano i-manage ang pera nila. Give them suggestions as to how they should deal with investors. And lastly, dapat alamin niyo ang lahat ng transactions nila para hindi sila maloloko ng mga mapansamantalang investors,” Gov. Delta furthered.

The Governor also promised the Aetas that he will look into the land zoning issues in Floridablanca , Porac towns and Mabalacat City.

According to him, if portions of their ancestral domain overlap become part of the zoning ordinance, he will take action right away.

For him, it is not right to interfere with the Aetas, especially when it is evident that their livelihood is in the uplands.

He also presented during the dialogue the plans for Aeta Community Village intended for the affected IPs from the 6.1 magnitude quake that hit the province and some parts of Luzon last April 22.

He guaranteed the Aetas that there is a planned housing program for them.

Governor Delta also promised that Provincial Government will never abandon them and will give them the best services that they deserve.  —LUISSE RUTAO/LEAH ISIDRO DE FIESTA