- Organization Name:Aeta Tribe Foundation
- Address:611 Waller Street
San Francisco, CA 94117
The Aeta Tribe Foundation’s mission is to listen, explore, restore, sustain, and support the indigenous people, known as the Aeta tribe, in the remote areas of the Philippines by providing potable water projects, funding intercultural schools, providing education opportunities, promoting ecological and sustainability practices, and funding other environmental and agricultural development projects.
he defining issues for the Aeta people are the hazards of poverty and the economic determinants of ill health beginning with the lack of water and a scarcity of food.
Our project is titled “Economic Fairness,” and it responds to the necessary measures and desires of the Aeta’s cultural existence and integrity by ensuring them equal footing in areas of health, safety, education, and employment opportunities – a realization of their own ancestral domains. The project consists of six (6) initiatives: (1) provide access to clean drinking water, (2) improve agricultural production using healthy soil, (3) build human capital for farming, (4) promote decent work for long-term intergenerational economic security, (5) provide access to healthcare services, and (6) provide educational opportunities for the next generation of the workforce.
Mount Pinatubo is an active volcano, and its colossal 1991 eruption was the second largest of the twentieth century. The volcanic eruption was unique because another natural disaster known as Typhoon Diding struck the Philippines at the same time. The eruption and the flood combined to create a tsunami effect where a quarter of a million homes were destroyed. Thousands of Aeta died, and the Aeta were forced to move down the mountain to settle in many outlying villages. The entire region of Central Luzon Region III was covered with mud, with a strong concentration of sulfuric acid. The new birth rate resulted in a large population of children under the age of 20, and only a third of them survived to adulthood past 16 years of age. Today, there are far too many teenage girls bearing children without food, water, and healthcare. The average life expectancy is 27.
It has been almost twenty-four years since the eruption and the Aeta’s lifestyle does not work in modern civilization. They were resistant to change and have continued living primitively without acquiring new skills to work in machinery, technology, and business. In 1997, many of them – approximately 3,000 families – returned to the foot of Mount Pinatubo. The Philippines government had granted the Aeta the rights and protection to continue living primitively according to their traditions, customs, practices, and culture under the Indigenous People Republic Act (IPRA) 1997. That is, the Aeta were free to pursue their economic, social, and cultural development in their ancestral land, according to their justice systems or their customary tribal laws within the Aeta’s respective communities.
However, moving back was not what the Aeta expected and their lives became increasingly difficult. After the eruption, a caldera was formed inside Mount Pinatubo’s crater called Lake Pinatubo. The lake is about 87 meters deep, making it the largest and deepest lake in the Philippines. The water has a strong concentration of sulfuric acid that is unsuitable for any aquatic life. During the wet season, the lake swells up, expands, and overflows, creating more streams and rivers. The water is still too acidic to drink causing many of the Aeta people diarrheal diseases. During the dry season, the soil becomes too hard and acidic and they are forced to use commercial fertilizers to plant their root crop vegetables. When they eat these vegetables, they become even sicker because they do not have water in which to wash their vegetables.
Today they are facing many problems exacerbated by the continuing effects of the eruption of Mount Pinatubo. Once we have provided the Aeta with the essential elements for a healthy environment, such as access to clean drinking water and healthy soil, we will build an economy that improves access to food through food sovereignty initiatives – moving from barren lands to forest for food and livelihood. We will promote their ecological and sustainability practices to ensure crop performance, abundant production, and to maximize the nutritional value of food. Our goal for sustainability is to reduce both hunger and poverty.
Our foundation will build partnerships by advancing the livelihood of the Aeta and will serve as a bridge for organizing movements to unite the Aeta people with the poor people in impoverished areas. By promoting ecological farming methods based on their traditional knowledge of organic and sustainable practices such as slash and burn, the Aeta can easily improve agricultural production and feed the entire village on their own. The Aeta view the land as something to be shared with other communities. The surplus of produce could easily be shared or sold at very low cost in the neighboring rural areas and could be sold in the open market, thereby, creating more jobs for the poor. Of course, collaborations between the Aeta and non-indigenous Filipino citizens will be reliant on the Aeta’s high level of willingness to participate and contribute to the overall concept of social improvement. Hence, we will deepen our advocacy efforts through open communication.
The Aeta currently live close to the village where Fernando Briosos, Executive Director, grew up in the Province of Pampanga, Philippines. This village is centrally located and has easy access to all provinces – Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, and Bataan. Recently, Mr. Briosos visited his hometown and recognized many of the Aeta scattered in his village begging for money, water, and food. He approached them and listened to the many sad stories about their current conditions. He thought about them more, and he was reminded of butterflies trapped in their cocoons without the possibility of freedom in their natural habitat.
After the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991, many of the Aeta returned to the mountains in 1997. The Philippines government had granted the Aeta the rights and protection to continue living according to their traditions, customs, and culture. However, moving back was not quite what they expected. Many of them suffered from intestinal diseases once they began drinking the water from the rivers and streams, as the water was contaminated with strong sulfuric acid. Their lives became increasingly more difficult, and they faced the hazards of poverty and poor health beginning with the lack of water and the scarcity of food.
When Mr. Briosos brought three truckloads of food and water to one village near Mount Pinatubo last February, the truck that held water was empty in less than an hour while more people stood in line for a cup of water. The two trucks holding food were empty in less than two hours. He learned by speaking with the elders that they walk great distances to nearby villages during the night to collect water from any visible, reachable faucet with in small containers they can carry. In terms of food, they plant root crops using commercial fertilizers, but they get even sicker without access to clean water in which to wash their fruits and vegetables.
The Aeta people have not learned to follow proper hygiene standards or to take baths on a regular basis. They have lived a nomadic life as forest dwellers for thousands of years. They are now starting to experience discrimination due to the long wait for any health care services and are feeling the pain, sorrow, and great disadvantage of adapting to modern civilization.
When Mr. Briosos returned to United States where he resides permanently as a US Citizen, he formed the Aeta Tribe Foundation in April 2015, located in San Francisco, CA. Mr. Briosos is both the campaign coordinator and administrator for the daily operation of the foundation. He would be canvassing door to door for donations and apply for various grants opportunities. The goal of the Aeta Tribe Foundation is to generate funds to ensure the Aeta’s economic, social, and cultural well-being are in place without distinction or discrimination as regards their existence, property rights, and ancestral domain.
We are supporting our indigenous people of the Philippines, known as the Aeta tribe. The Aeta are believed to be the first inhabitants of the Philippines. They are indigenous, mainly isolated from the rest of the world. Their ancestors were the Aborigines from Australia. There is consensus from anthropologists that the Aeta migrated from the island of Borneo about 30 thousand years ago using a land bridge that was partially covered by water 5,000 years ago. They moved to Mount Pinatubo during the Spanish colonization in the early 1500’s. The Spaniards referred to them as “Negritos” because of their dark skin and their curly or kinky hair. However, they find this to be a derogatory term and they prefer to be called “Kulot” which means “curly.” They refer to Filipino citizens as “Unat” meaning “straight hair.”
Our foundation focuses on the Aeta people who were greatly impacted by the 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo. They are currently living in the remote areas of Central Luzon Region III, mainly the provinces of Pampanga, Tarlac, Zambales, and Bataan.
The Aeta have a long history living among nature and in the forest in a sustainable way and possess vast amounts of ecological knowledge that their culture has accumulated for thousands of years. Therefore, we will encourage and build on what the Aeta know and apply their knowledge to foster and rebuild their food sovereignty. We will promote organic agricultural production by educating the Aeta in the use of improved agricultural tools and strengthening their knowledge of developing unique and effective solutions to hunger and economic inequality. We will share our vision and the values of commitment to the health and well-being of their mother earth and all her people as we transform production practices based on sustainability and equity of their land, water, and food.
Our foundation will work with the Aeta to expand or control their community rights over natural resources, and meet their needs for increased advocacy, and networking among organizations.
- Year established:2015
- Organization type:Grantseeker
- Country of registration:United States
- Tax Determination Letter:Received Determination Letter
- IRS Section:501(c)(3)
- IRS Subsection:509(a)(2)
Types of funding being sought (i.e. funding type)
- None specified
Program areas of focus and activity (i.e. funding cause)
- None specified
Geographic areas of focus and activity (i.e. geographic area)
- None specified