Four Aeta tribes associations living in Pampanga today vowed solid support for the vice presidential candidacy of Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.
Marcos’ first stop for his Pampanga “Unity Caravan” sorties was in Marcos Village, Mabalacat where the Aetas had been given houses in the early 70’s by the late President Ferdinand Marcos, father and namesake of the senator.
Marcos, who came with Mabalacat Mayor Marino "Boking" Morales, was warmly welcomed by the villagers who are mostly members of either Samahan Angkan ng Katutubo (SAKA), Mabalacat Aeta Tribal Association (MATA), Bamban Aeta Tribal Association (BATA), and Tribal Elders.
Edgar Palo, member of the board of trustees of SAKA, said they will vote for Marcos to ensure that the projects initiated by his father will be continued.
“Tiwala kami kay Senator Bongbong na tulad ng kanyang ama, magiging malapit sa puso niya ang mga katutubong Aeta na tulad namin,” he said.
The same confidence was echoed by other tribal leaders in separate interviews who said they have found in Marcos the kind of leader that tribal and indigenous peoples can depend on.
“Alam naming maaasahan namin siya (Marcos) kaya hindi pwedeng hindi naming siya iboto,” Manuel de Vera, vice president of BATA, said.
During his visit, Marcos, was accompanied by his sons, Simon and Vincent, his sister Irene Marcos-Araneta and her two sons. He thanked the Aeta communities for their support. “Kayo po ay napaka-importanteng aspeto ng ating kasaysayan bilang Pilipino at makakaasa kayo na patuloy ang ating magiging suporta sa inyo,” he said.
Marcelo Sumilang, president of Tribal Leaders, said he had been an Aeta community leader since the Marcos administration.
“Dati ang tawag sa lugar na ito Negrito village. Pero tinulungan kami ni Presidente Marcos kaya ibabalik namin ang aming utang na loob sa kanyang anak, iboboto namin si Bongbong,” he said.