Aeta children in Pampanga get 5 new learning centers

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Inside the Clark Freeport is an ongoing program that tries to build trust between Aetas and the state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC). The education of Aeta children is a component of the program, called Pagsasarili, which former CDC President Jose de Jesus launched in 2019. (Photo by Tonette T. Orejas)

CLARK FREEPORT – The education of Aeta children in North Clark got a big boost after the Bloomberry Cultural Foundation Inc. opened two of the five learning centers it is building in the sub- Sacobia area with a 47 million peso grant, officials said.

The state-owned Clark Development Corp. (CDC), Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, Bloomberry and OB Montessori have opened two Pagsasarili Family Care Centers at Marcos Village in Mabalacat City, Pampanga and Sto. Niño in Bamban, Tarlac on March 21st.

The Pagsasarili program has three components: preschool education, cocoa plantation for making chocolate bars and the Ayta Na trading post, according to former CDC chairman Jose de Jesus, who started the accountability program corporate social responsibility in 2019.

He continued to support the program by serving as a consultant.

CDC Chairman Edgardo Pamintuan said Bloomberry’s 47 million peso award had “moved the agenda forward”.

Three other structures are being built in Sitio Calapi, also in Marcos Village and in Sitios Burog and San Martin, both in Bamban.

During Monday’s launch, Pamintuan urged Aetas to “unite and work with the CDC” in a long-delayed joint management agreement for the use of some 10,000 hectares covered by the Title 025A ancestral domain certificate in the sub-area.

De Jesus said the Pagsasarili program helps the CDC and Aetas “build trust” while its early education component prepares Aeta children for learning.

The pandemic forced the first 50 learners to use modules, according to Vilma Mercado, one of four Aeta preschool educators here.

Bloomberry, the social development arm of Solaire Resort & Casino, has increased its presence in Pampanga by helping fund the construction of a government-run hospital that only serves overseas Filipino workers, Filipina Laurena said, executive director of Bloomberry, in an interview.

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