IP tribes raise Robredo, Pangilinan’s hands
OLONGAPO, ZAMBALES — Aetas from Central Luzon on Tuesday raised the hands of Vice President Leni Robredo and Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan in full endorsement of their respective bids for the country’s top two posts, in a symbolic gesture that’s now becoming a fixture in their campaigns.
In endorsing them, the Aetas of Botolan, Zambales province vouched for the tandem’s track record in upholding indigenous peoples’ rights and expressed hope that they would defend and promote their rights.
Fe Domulot, the tribe’s chieftain, also vouched for the “depth and breadth of their experience in public service, in defending the vulnerable and paying back debts of gratitude (to the people who put them in power).”
She also expressed her sincere trust that the two “would never sell them out because they have their own principles.”
“Our history as indigenous peoples have always been marred by violence and oppression, lack of education, and human rights violations,” Domulot lamented. “We feel in our hearts that they are the only candidates who truly understand our rights (and) feelings.”
This is not the first time that indigenous groups have committed to supporting the tandem, especially Robredo, erstwhile a pro bono lawyer for the indigenous, peasant folk, and rural poor before becoming a politician.
Earlier, the 1Sambubungan coalition of 18 tribes also signed a covenant supporting the Robredo-Pangilinan ticket in hopes that they would uphold the indigenous agenda.
After raising their hands, the tribe gifted Robredo mangoes – Zambales’ main crop – and a wood nameplate carving bearing her name.
“To our brothers and sisters here, let our decisions be firm. Let us fight and stand for them,” Domulot said.
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