TARLAC — The Northern Luzon Command, Armed Forces of the Philippines, through the 1st Civil Relations Group, CRS, and the 70th Infantry Batallion, Philippine Army, conducted a Christmas outreach in an Aeta community in Barangay Sapang Uwak, Porac, Pampanga, on Dec 13, 2022.
The gift-giving activity benefited 30 IP leaders, including student leaders from the said barangay, who received rice and noodles and are participants in the IP leaders’ forum organized by the Pinatubo Eco Adventure and Cultural Enclave, Katutubong Anak ng Mount Pinatubo (PEACE KAMP).
During the forum, the troops also conducted an awareness campaign about the Communist Terrorist Group’s recruitment and a call to action to the IPs, who are among the most vulnerable to CTG deception and recruitment.
On behalf of the recipients, Indigenous People’s Mandatory Representative (IPMR), Edwin Abuque expressed his appreciation to the troops for reaching out to the IPs, especially in inspiring the student leaders to focus on their studies and not be deceived by the CTG’s deceptive organizations.
“Palagi kong sinasabi sa mga bata na huwag nilang hayaang mapabayaan ang kanilang pag-aaral, na sikapin nilang makatapos para sa aming komunidad at para makasabay kami sa pag-unlad at para mapangalagaan namin ang aming mga karapatan bilang mga katutubo,” Abuque said.
For his part, PEACE KAMP founder Samuel C Sagun said that the IP Leader’s Forum is to enhance its efforts to attract more partnerships that would increase awareness of their goals and endeavors to provide livelihood among the IPs of Sapang Uwak.
“Walang tunay na kapayapaan, kung gutom ang mga tao. Layunin namin na mabigyan sila ng pangkabuhayan para mapanatili nila ang kanilang self-dignity bilang mga katutubo,” he added.
It can be recalled that the NOLCOM, AFP has recently conducted similar activities to Aeta communities in Sta Juliana, Capas, Tarlac including food distribution to street children and homeless in Tarlac City as part of the command’s yuletide activities.