A WHOOPING P50 million monthly revenue supposedly beefing up both treasury of the Pampanga Provincial Government and Clark Development Corporation (CDC) was lost because of the quarrelling Aleta tribal groups. It was an income from the quarry operations of the Sacobia River which snakes through from the Zambales mountain ranges and cascading at the back of the Clark Freeport. It brings a lot of sand materials for construction and trucked daily mostly to Metro Manila areas.
Seemingly, quarry operations in the Sacobia River became a major source of income for the indigenous people living on the hilly portion of Mabalacat and Bamban, Tarlac. These towns are part of the Clark Special Economic Zone. The river including the hillsides and up to Capas, Tarlac are part of the former United States military installation and turned over to the Philippine government by virtue of Republic Act 7227. All of these lands are now titled with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
It was only during Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo's administration when the president caused the issuance of an ancestral domain title to the Aetas who have been living there even before the Americans cavalry staked their post in 1902. That was at the time when a tribal group led by King Alfonso welcomed the American soldiers and stayed until 1991. (Earlier, the Philippine senate rejected the renewal of the expiring RP-US Bases Agreement). Even when the American armed forces were too strict to allow civilians to enter their military base, the aetas were given the special privilege to enter freely and even sold some souvenir items to GIs.
The Macapagal-Arroyo marching order to the officials of CDC was to set aside a large hectarage across the river which was then known as sub-zone and effect a joint management agreement with the tribal group. It was a 80 percentage to 20 percentage sharing with CDC getting the lion share.
The reason why CDC is getting the bigger slice is justified because it will develop the area with roads, townships with livelihood components. On top of it locators who will be establishing manufacturing firms and factories invited by CDC will share 20 percent of the lease payments to the tribal group. These may run to hundreds of millions of pesos for the aetas, and for doing nothing. It never materialized because the tribal groups cannot agree among themselves, and the quarrel is still evident until now. It shifted to the quarry operations along the Sacobia River.
- It is safe to eat chicken. I just had chicken joy from that food chain yesterday. Government officials led by Department of Agriculture Secretary Manny Pinol sampled even before TV and clicking cameras balut, fried itik and chicken.
- My friend businessman Mike Tapang is rolling his sleeves to see the realization of a toll road that will connect Porac to Bacolor that will use the mega dike alignment. It will be the principal road to be used by sand and gravel trucks coming from Porac town.
+ Belated happy birthday to my long time friend Clark International Airport Corporation President Alex Caugiran. Here's a man so dedicated to public service, passionate on whatever he does. He maybe abrasive at times, but he has a caring heart particularly to his fellow servants in government. He means we'll all the time. Alex, may your tribe increase!
Published in the SunStar Pampanga newspaper on August 16, 2017.
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