Angeles demolishes shanties, sends Aetas back to Tarlac

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Aetas and their belongings under the Abacan Bridge in Angeles City wait to be transported home to Tarlac after the local government demolished their shanties. (photo by Jess Malabanan, InterAksyon)

ANGELES CITY, Philippines — The Angeles City government demolished shanties built by Aetas along the Abacan River in Barangay and transported 12 families or 60 individuals, including children and the elderly, back to their villages in the hinterlands of Capas, Tarlac.

But Balibago barangay chairman Tony Mamac said the demolition “has nothing to do with the upcoming ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) summit.”

“We … demolished Aeta shanties last year but we cannot prevent them from migrating to Angeles City for humanitarian consideration. They started regrouping and building shanties,” he said over the phone.

Mayor Egardo Pamintuan ordered the demolition of the shanties, Mamac said.

He said the 60 Aetas from Barangays Sta. Juliana and Patling in Capas had gone to Angeles to beg alms.

“Aeta mendicants remain a problem here especially when ‘ber months (September to December) begin. They travel in groups from (the) uplands of Tarlac and Zambales and scatter in major streets in this city to beg alms,” Mamac said.

He added that the shanties the Aetas built on both banks of the Abacan River and beneat Abacan Bridge exposed them to the risk of being swept away by flashfloods.

In contrast, he said, Badjaos who have migrated to Angeles build concerted shelters.

Mamac said the Barangay Council for the Protection of Children provided packed lunches and small amounts of cash and clothing for the Aetas.