San Francisco, US – Fernando Briosos, a native of Guagua, Pampanga, has a soft spot for the ethnic Aeta communities.
Long after he left the Philippines for greener pastures in the old US of A,he stayed connected with his motherland particularly his beloved Pampanga province via his non-profit organization called Aeta Tribe Foundation.
Briosos, currently the Executive Director of the San Francisco-based Aeta Tribe Foundation, may be a lone voice in the wilderness – but his organization’s humanitarian efforts in the Philippines touch and continue to change lives in the remote corners of the country such as Nabuclod, Floridablanca in Pampanga province.
The charitable work of the Aeta Tribe Foundation resonated from the Yerba Buena Gardens in San Francisco, all the way back to Angeles City via the social media.
In October, Briosos will go back to Nabuclod, Floridablanca to repair two broken artesian wells. The Aeta Tribe Foundation is currently working with two sitios in Floridablanca – Nabuclod, which has around 777 families, and Mawacat with 200 families. Aside from bringing clean drinking water, Briosos said they “hope to introduce organic farming by providing them with agricultural tools and seeds rich in Vitamin A.”
“We hope to promote decent work for the Aeta communities by selling surplus of fruits and vegetables in the open market. By addressing the root issues of their current conditions, the Aeta people can start feeding themselves with adequate nutrients needed for growth and development, and strive for self-sufficiency that may strengthen the ties to alleviate the social impact of the poverty crisis. By supplying the Aeta people with safe, clean drinking water, gardening tools, and seeds, they will be able to meet their needs for survival and control over their well-being of current and future generations,” said Briosos.
The Aeta Tribe Foundation invests in building, fixing, drilling, and maintaining water wells for the indigenous Aeta tribes. Its first water well ever brought water to the surface for children in Nabuclod, Floridablanca, an uptown Aeta community near the Zambales mountain ranges.
“Since our inception in April of 2015, the Aeta Tribe Foundation has been able to work with villages in the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Bataan, and Zambales, and most recently, General Nakar. As a result, the Aeta Tribe Foundation helped approximately 1,000 Aeta families,” said Briosos.
In February this year, the Aeta Tribe Foundation repaired three broken artesian wells sponsored by the Behnke and Friar Franciscan in Nabuclod.
“We had built two new artesian wells sponsored by the Healing Pranic and Filipino American Chamber of Commerce of Silicon Valley, but later we learned that they broke down,” said Briosos.
With the support of the San Francisco Premiere Lions Club 250, 5-gallon blue plastic containers had been provided for schools and seniors, as well as eight 50-kilo sacks of rice and 2,400 cans of sardines divided among the families.
In February 22 this year, former Floridablanca Mayor Eduardo Guerrero has recognized the humanitarian efforts of the Aeta Tribe Foundation with a plaque of appreciation. The organization is currently working closely with the Health Provincial Officer, Dr. Jay Cayugan for the medical mission and Dr. Julieta Gabiola from ABC Global Health for the conduct of a regular visit to Nabuclod.
“We are a small non-profit organization, a little guy that no one foundation or organization wants to help, and yet, we have done some meaningful work that gives back to the indigenous Aeta community who are on the brink of ecological collapse. We want to make the environmental improvements a priority that affect the lives of the Aeta population, especially children, and to potentially attract more donors,” said Briosos.
For those who want to donate in this endeavor, please check out the website www.aetatribes.org or email [email protected] on how to donate. –Jonard Aquino