DINALUPIHAN: Four Aeta natives, three of them women, took their oaths of office on Monday as members of barangay and municipal councils here.
Sangguniang Bayan councilor Joel Abraham and village council members Ramelita Arojado of Tubo-Tubo, Olivia Clemente of Payangan and Esmeralda Garcia of Bayan-Bayanan—all from the Ayta Ambala tribe—were sworn in by Dinalupihan Mayor Maria Angela “Gila” Garcia after the flag-raising ceremony.
“Makasaysayan ang araw na ito sapagka’t ito ang una sa Bataan na magkakaroon ng represen–tasyon ang mahal nating mga katutubo sa Sangguniang Barangay at Sangguniang Bayan [This is a historic day because it is the first time in Bataan that our beloved tribes people are representative in Sangguniang Barangay and Sangguniang Bayan],” said Garcia.
She said that Aeta natives to be represented in local governance was long overdue. “Sa wakas magkakaroon na rin sila ng boses sa pamahalaan [At last, they will now have voices in the government].”
Garcia said the tribal councils selected will represent them while the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples affirmed the decision and approved by the Department of Interior and Local Government.
He said that there are more or less 7,000 hectares of ancestral domain in Dinalupihan where about 1,000 Aeta natives reside.