SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) recently turned over community facilities worth P4.9 million to the Pastolan Ayta tribe here as part of the agency’s commitment to promote the welfare of the indigenous community in this free port.
SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma formally handed over the donations consisting of a schoolhouse and a healthcare clinic to officials of the Ambala Ayta Tribe of Pastolan, whose ancestral lands form part of the Subic Bay Freeport Zone.
Eisma said the donated infrastructures are part of the agency’s commitment under a Joint Management Agreement signed by the SBMA, the Ayta tribe, and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) that provides compensation for the use of part of the Ayta ancestral domain.
The health clinic is expected to serve the 330 families living in the Ayta village, while the school building will be used by students in Grades 4 to 6.
“I will do everything I can to give what is rightfully yours under the agreement,” Eisma told the Ayta community led by Chieftain Conrado Frenilla during the turnover. “There may be times when I cannot grant other favors that you ask, but I assure you that if it’s within my power, I would,” she added.
Former Hermosa, Bataan town mayor Gaudencio Ferrer, who was present in the turnover, lauded the efforts of the SBMA in providing facilities to Ayta residents, whose village falls under the political jurisdiction of Hermosa.
“Madam Chairman, thank you for giving us this wonderful school building,” Ferrer said. “It is not just a simple school that was given to you,” he told the residents, “but you received the most beautiful classroom in Bataan.”
According to Armie Llamas, manager of the SBMA Public Relations Department, barangay health workers will man the clinic, but the SBMA will also provide a medical doctor to regularly see patients at the clinic. Consultations with the doctor will be held during Saturdays, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon, Llamas added.
Meanwhile, school principal Jake Bautista said the new school building will be converted into rooms for Mathematics and Science classes, aside from serving as additional classrooms for pupils in Grades 4 to 6 who shared just one room previously.
Teachers added that the new school building will be more conducive to learning, and hence would encourage more local children to go to school.