Employees of the Employees’ Compensation Commission (ECC) travelled to Porac, Pampanga to distribute goods to members of the indigenous Aeta community on December 12, 2019.

More than 300 family members of the Aeta community were given packages of goods that contained canned and packed food, Christmas items, packed lunch, some clothes, children’s books, and school supplies.

Executive Director Stella Zipagan-Banawis, along with other ECC personnel led the distribution of coloring and reading materials to the children who right away participated in the book coloring activity. The most artistic art works done by the kids were given special awards.

Moreover, some young members showed their talents in singing as they participated in a jamming session with the ECC personnel. Two of them were given special gifts after rendering a unique version of a theme song of a tv station as well as their very own tribal song.

The kids earned praise and applause from the crowd listening to their performances.

One Aeta member, said that he was very happy when he and his family learned that ECC would come. “Nahirapan kami simula nang lumindol. Kaya, masaya kami nang malaman namin na may darating na tulong lalo na at magpa-Pasko.”

In early 2019, the Northern part of the Philippines was hardly hit by a series of earthquakes which caused massive destructions. The members of the Aeta community in Porac were among the many members whose ancestral houses were displaced by the quakes that directly hit Pampanga. They were relocated and are currently living in makeshift houses in a holding area set up by the Department of Social Welfare and Development.

Banawis said that the event was very humbling and experiential, “This is not just a social responsibility, but more of a moral obligation to reach our indigenous people, connect with them, and let them feel that they are not forgotten and abandoned. Truly, this is an amazing experience.”

This is the third year in a row that ECC visited an Aeta community.

Reporting by Carlo Katigbak