Clark supports training center for ‘Super Lolas’

CLARK FREEPORT–More efforts to bring additional livelihood opportunities rather than giving alms is now the focus of the various government agencies, including Clark Development Corporation, to†the Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in the contiguous areas of this Freeport.

This is the intent when the CDC together with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), and the Diwata-Women in Resource Development Inc. (DIWATA) recently signed an agreement for the use of the BCDA Group Women’s Center facility in Clark. The project aims to train more solar engineers among the women of the indigenous Aeta community or now commonly referred to as “Solar Lolas.”

The agreement was signed by CDC Chair and concurrent President Eliseo B. Santiago, BCDA Chairperson Ma. Aurora D. Geotina-Garcia, and Tanging Tanglaw Steering Committee Annie Dee in a simple ceremony held at Clark Freeport Zone.

Santiago said the project impacts on two sectors of the society namely women empowerment and the welfare of the IPs.

“What is even more distinctive about this project is the focus on Indigenous People and the opportunity that this project brings to their to their children and their respective communities,” he said.

CDC is hoping soon that the IPs within the surrounding areas of Metro Clark will no longer begging in the streets of subject of dole outs from the various non-government agencies but instead will have their own opportunities to be integrated in the mainstream society by having decent work, profession or business.

The CDC top executive also expressed hope for the success of the project.

“We look forward to the project’s implementation and eventual success, and the hope that more public and private institutions engage in the same endeavor in the days ahead,” he added.

The “Tanging Tanglaw” Project was conceptualized from the experience of four Aeta women referred to as “Solar Lolas” who trained in India’s Barefoot College for six months on fabricating, installing, repairing and maintaining solar lighting equipment. Each pair of “Solar Lolas” are now responsible for solar electrifying 100 households and for repairing and maintaining the equipment for a minimum of five years.

Once the communities are solar-electrified, the quality of life of the IPs are expected to be more productive as they will be able to use appliances and gadgets. Children, on the other hand, will be able to study at night and possibly use computers and access the Internet to increase their knowledge and awareness.

Under the agreement, BCDA and CDC will provide DIWATA a training room and storage facility at the BCDA Group Women’s Center at Clark Polytechnic Compound here for its “Tanging Tanglaw” Project. The project involves training indigenous people (IP) grandmothers and mature women who are no longer the primary care givers of their families into solar engineers.

On the other hand, DIWATA will operate, manage and supervise the maintenance of the BCDA Group Women’s Center and Storage Facility in coordination with the BCDA and CDC.

Also present during the MOA signing were Gala, Zambales Community Solar Lolas Evelyn Clemente, Magda Salvador, City Diaz, Sharon Flores; Zambales and Bamban IP tribal chieftains; National Commission on Indigenous People Regional Director Salong Sunggod; Ambassador Delia Domingo Albert, first woman secretary of foreign affairs in Asia and DIWATA chairwoman; Atty. Patricia A.O. Bunye; and other BCDA and CDC officials.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on June 30, 2016.

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