Living as an IP (indigenous people) minority in Sitio Target, Pampanga in the Philippines is not easy. There have been attempts in the past to drive away the Aetas from their ancestral lands. Fortunately with the help of concerned citizens and groups, these attempts failed to materialize. However the Aeta families and their supporters recognize that these are just temporary stopgaps to the legal battle towards claiming their home dwellings.
Mylene David, at her early age of 10, is already aware of her people’s difficult situation. As ANCOP’s CSP scholar, she has been striving hard to excel in her studies so she will be able to help create a brighter future for her people.
Mylene is an honor student and she graduated valedictorian in elementary. Currently she is in her 2nd year in high school. When asked what she wants to be professionally she had been so sure what it would be. “I want to be a lawyer someday,” Mylene shared. “I will defend our rights to these lands.” Mylene’s response showed some maturity beyond her age and it did not fail to impress those around her.
ANCOP aims to nurture Mylene’s dream and is paving the way so that one day the name “Atty. Mylene David” will find its place in a window sign at Sitio Target, Sapang Bato in Pampanga, Philippines.
By Jhon Robert Ko, ANCOP Global Philippines
Mylene David and her family belong to an aboriginal group known as Aetas.
Aetas are indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the Philippines. They are nomadic and build only temporary shelters made of sticks driven to the ground and covered with the palm of banana leaves. The well-situated and more modernized Aetas have moved to villages and areas of cleared mountains. They live in houses made of bamboo and cogon grass. Aetas are found in several northern provinces of the Philippines, but were forced to move to resettlement areas in Pampanga and Tarlac following the devastating Mt. Pinatubo eruption in June 1991. (Wikipedia)
This article has been edited from its previous version.