MANILA, Philippines – Aeta families in Porac and Floridablanca, Pampanga, were left shaken following a magnitude 6.1 earthquake that jolted parts of Luzon on Monday, April 22.
Since the disaster struck, Aetas from the province have been appealing for help and assistance due to insufficient resources.
Those who sought refuge in makeshift evacuation centers in Sitio Cuyukot and Sitio Balangkas in Barangay Camias have been struggling with limited supplies and food, especially with the source of water being located some 3 kilometers away.
Youth group Anakbayan Pampanga has reported that currently, some Aeta children and women have gotten sick with cough, colds, and fever.
In Porac and Floridablanca, several concrete structures – including school buildings, daycare centers, churches, and a barangay hall – were damaged from the Luzon earthquake.
In a phone interview on Friday, April 26, Sonny Serrano, Chairman of the Central Luzon Aeta Association ,said that out of fear, some Aetas chose to take refuge in makeshift evacuation sites on higher ground, far from landslide-prone areas.
Anakbayan Pampanga said that some Aetas in the area have even chosen to stay beside roads or build makeshift shelters just outside their destroyed houses despite the existence of an arranged evacuation site in their corresponding barangays.
“Ang problema nga lang namin ngayon ay walang malinis na tubig, sapat na pagkain, gamot para sa mga batang nagkakasakit dahil nalalamigan sa gabi sa pagtulog sa mga tolda. Kailangan rin namin ng flashlights pang-ilaw sa gabi,” said Serrano.
(Our problem now is the lack of clean water, enough food, and medicine for [our] children who are getting sick because of cold nights when sleeping under our tents. We also need flashlights to be used during nighttime.)
Despite the limited supply of food, water, and medicine, Aeta families opted to stay in the makeshift evacuation centers in Sitio Cuyucut and Sitio Sentro, where they feel safer.
“Natrauma na kami na baka yumanig ulit yung lupa kaya di kami makabalik sa mga bahay at mga bukid namin,” shared Serrano.
(We are traumatized that the ground might shake again. That’s why we can’t go back yet to our homes and farmlands.)
Pampanga, the hardest-hit province, is under a state of calamity due to the Luzon earthquake.
Anakbayan Pampanga, in partnership with other non-government organizations in the province, initiated a call for donations and volunteers to help the affected Aeta communities.
How you can help
Those who want to help the Aeta community may do the following:
Donate consumable goods, medicines, toiletries, and beddings to Mission with Indigenous People Holy Family Academy:
Donations may be dropped off at: Mission with Indigenous People, Gate 1, Holy Family Academy beside Holy Rosary Parish Church Angeles City, Pampanga
Mau Miranda: 09171345646
- Cash donations may be deposited to Mission with Indigenous People Holy Family Academy’s Metrobank
- Bank account name: ALAY BAYAN-LUSON, INC.
- Bank account number: 052-7-05251627-3
Sign up as volunteer at Mission with Indigenous People Holy Family Academy to help with their relief operations:
Volunteers may bring water, packed lunch, extra shirt, first aid kit and flashlight.
Mau Miranda: 0917 134 5646
Isabel M. Lupac is a Rappler intern, and a 4th year AB Communications student from De La Salle Lipa