Aetas ask Tarlac gov to help them get rid of 4 people harassing them

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    CLARK FREEPORT – A group led by a lawyer has reportedly harassed Aetas based at the Sacobia area here, asking them to sign a petition calling for an election and scrapping of the Joint Management Agreement (JMA) entered into by the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) with the Bamban Aeta Tribal Association (BATA) in 2007.

    Disclosing this to Punto, Tribal Chieftains Council Chairman Oscar Dizon of Sitio San Martin, Bamban, Tarlac said they had complained to Tarlac Gov. Vic Yap about the alleged harassment of Aetas.

    In a letter to the governor, they identified their harassers as a certain “Atty. Yabut,”  one Bong Barik, a Tony Sumilang, a Jimmy Palo and BATA Chairman Oscar Rivera.

    “Kami po mga katutubong Aeta sa CADT ng Bamban Area ay dumudulog sa inyo upang humingi ng tulong. Ito ay tungkol sa mga sumbong ng mga tribal chieftains at ibang opisyales ng mga tribo na may mga taong namimilit magpirma ng otorisasyon para gawing taga-pagsalita ang isang taong nangangalang Bong Barik at gawing legal adviser at isang taong nagngangalang Atty. Yabut,” said the letter received by Yap on Nov. 19 and obtained by Punto last week. 

    “Ayon sa sumbong, pinapasok po nila ng sapilitan ang mga bahay ng mga tribal chieftains at kanilang pinipilit pumirma ng nasabing kasulatan. Ayon po sa sumbong, ang mga taong kasama sa pamimilit na pumirma ay sina Oscar Rivera, Tony Sumilang, Jimmy Palo at Bong Barik. At namimilit din po silang magpa-eleksyon para palitan ang mga kasalukuyang tribal chieftains na sa paniniwala namin ay hindi naaayon sa batas,” added the letter which was also given to the CDC, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and Bamban municipal government.

    “Sa tingin po namin, ang pamimilit na ginagawa nila ay bunga ng kanilang pagiging desperadong mahawakan sa leeg ang mga tribal chieftains para sa kanilang mga sariling interes,” the letter said.

    “Kagalanggalang na Gubernador, ang mga nagaganap po na problema ito sa aming mga tribo ay nagdudulot ng alingasngas at takot dahil hindi po namin alam kung ano pa ang susunod nilang gagawin. Hinihingi po sana namin ang inyong tulong upang mapa-imbestigahan at matulungan po kami na mapa-alis na ang mga taong ito sa aming lugar upang kami ay makapamuhay ng mapayapa. Kami po ay umaasa sa inyong madaliang pagtugon,” it added.

    Dizon and residents of Sitio Maba, Bamban disclosed that the group led by Yabut had wanted them to call the immediate election of BATA officers which will pave the way for the junking of the JMA.   

    “Di namin puedeng talikuran ang JMA dahil pumirma kami ditto,” said Sitio Maba residents. They added that the Yabut-led group had tried to destroy  and even forcibly take the service vehicles given by the CDC to BATA officers and members. 

    Dizon said that he and at least five BATA tribal association leaders had also reported the harassment on them to Senior Supt. Nicanor Targa, head of the CDC public safety department.

    In a chance interview last week, Targa told Punto that a harassment complaint against Yabut,  Barik, Sumilang, Rivera and Palo had been lodged against them by Dizon and other tribal leaders of BATA. 

    Efforts of Punto to get the statements of Yabut,  Barik, Sumilang, Rivera and Palo failed since last week.

    Asked about the first name of Yabut, Dizon said “yun pong matanda (the old one).”

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