Updated October 30, 2003
The Japanese government granted yesterday a P3-million aid package to provide livelihood and improve the income of around 400 Aetas in Barangay Sta. Fe in San Marcelino, Zambales.
Japanese Ambassador Kojiro Takano and Mr. Atsushi Kadoi of of A Child’s Trust Is Ours to Nurture (ACTION) signed the grant contract for the project involving the propagation of herbal trees.
The project, amounting to $58,304 (P 3,204,699), will be funded through an NGO grant under Japan’s official development assistance.
In a statement, the Japanese embassy said Aeta tribesmen in Sitio Baliwet, Buag and Banaba still find it difficult to survive 12 years after the Mt. Pinatubo eruption.
ACTION, a Japanese NGO, explored the possibility of establishing a sustainable livelihood project for the Aetas and learned that the increasing demand for herbal products may bring good opportunities for the tribesmen.
Although herbal tree growing is not a usual practice of the Aetas, they have local knowledge on herbal plants and some experience from the herbal medicine project of ACTION since 1999.
The project will establish a 2-hectare farm of herbal trees including a nursery to be planted with endemic herbal trees like sambong, lagundi and tsaang gubat.
This will serve as a demo farm and training area for Aeta families to learn and grow herbal trees in their own farms. Later, ACTION will also extend technical assistance with seedling and marketing support to these Aeta families.
Japan’s assistance to the Aeta communities through ACTION reflects its thrust to mitigate the disparity towards poverty alleviation in the Philippines. Japan NGO Grant aims to provide assistance to various Japanese non-government organizations engaging in grassroots activities in the country.