An Appeal for Help

AN APPEAL FOR HELP FOR THE AETA PEOPLES

THE ETHNIC MINORITY GROUP OF TRIBES OF MT. PINATUBO REGION, PHILIPPINES

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DISPLACED PEOPLE

Aeta are a displaced people in entirety. The Aeta once lived by foraging and hunting. Their homes were simple constructions made from branches and leaves. The jungle and forests provided their every need and that mountain on which they had made their homes from the dawn of history was Mt. Pinatubo, Philippines. On 15 june 1991 their mountain provided the world with the greatest eruption of the twentieth century and their lushly canopied homeland disappeared forever.

SOCIALLY EXCLUDED PEOPLE

Dark skinned with round eyes, button noses, tight curly hair and miniature height, the Aeta are quite different in appearance to the majority of Filipinos. This, plus the fact that most are illiterate, traditionally do not use money, use ancient sanitary customs and know very little of “civilization”, results in their being socially challenged and exploited.

Post-Pinatubo eruption, the majority of Aeta lived in crowded resettlement camps. Circa 1994 a few Aeta tried returning to as close a proximity as possible to where they originally lived. However, the jungles, forest, fish and animals were all gone under the ashes and lahar of the eruption. Those Aeta struggled to survive. However as years passed and Pinatubo turned green again with baby forests and undergrowth,so the numbers of Aeta returning grew and with them a new development occurred: that of the Aeta establishing villages.

SURVIVORS OF CONFLICTkiddos

Aeta homelands were, and in many ways still are, in areas inhabited by NPA (National Peoples Army) guerillas but Aeta never became involved with them. Aeta were famous as jungle fighters and survivors fighting for the Allies in World War II. Having such a fierce reputation, the Aeta nevertheless used passive resistance with NPA guerillas which the guerillas in turn respected. It was – and still is – a conflict which is survived bravely.

BEREAVED

Aeta are bereaved; they lost loved ones in the eruption; they lost their old way of life forever; they lost their mountain homeland forever; they lost the mountain they worshipped and now where once it towered there is a vast crater with a lake surrounded by high jagged walls covered in lahar which races down in rivers to create more destruction at every rainfall. Aeta are sad, shocked and shy of their future. Their world is shattered! They need help for their culture and family groups to survive. Without help they will slip into the cities to become BEGGARS and STREET CHILDEREN. The Aeta do not want this fate and it must not happen to these lovely, unique people. PREVENTION is better than CURE, so PLEASE HELP.