By Macon Ramos-Araneta | Manila Standard Today
As a show of gratitude to the late President Ferdinand Marcos, four Aeta tribes associations living in Pampanga on Tuesday vowed solid support for his son and namesake, vice presidential candidate Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.
During his campaign sortie in Pampanga, Marcos was warmly received 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, a 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.
Palo said they trust that the senator like his father, the late president who had a soft spot for the native Aetas.
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.
“We know that we can depend on him so we will vote for him,” said Manuel de Vera, vice president of Bata.
Marcelo Sumilang, president of Tribal Leaders, said he had been an Aeta community leader since the Marcos administration.
“This place was formerly known a Negrito village. But the late President Marcos helped us so we will repay him by helping his son. We will vote for Bongbong,” he said.
Marcos’ first stop for his Pampanga “Unity Caravan” sorties was in Marcos Village, Mabalacat where the Aetas had been given houses in the early 70s by the late President Marcos.
The young Marcos also visited Mabalacat Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales who also expressed his full support for his candidacy.
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.
“You are an important aspect of our history as a Filipino do you can expect for our continous support to all of you,” Marcos told the Aetas.