250 Ayta families in Tarlac province, trapped in the enhanced community quarantine imposed over Luzon in the government’s bid to arrest the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, received food aid through the humanitarian initiative of the Diocese of Tarlac.
Emergency relief operations were held on March 22 and 24 in several remote barangays in the 5 towns of San Jose, Mayantoc, Camiling, Capas and San Clemente in Tarlac province. Volunteer priests and lay people joined the operations headed by their bishop.
The relief operations was part of the Diocese of Tarlac’s Ayta Ministry, a right-based program which extends support to Ayta communities within the province that are threatened by development aggression.
Diocese of Tarlac Bishop Dindo Ranojo said the relief operations gives face to his diocese’s mission for marginalized and disadvantaged indigenous communities in the province.
“It is important that the Church shows charity to those who are most vulnerable in this time of need. We hope our modest effort helps alleviate the suffering of the poor trapped in the government’s fight against the Covid-19 pandemic,” the bishop said.
He said the Aytas are inadvertently forced to starvation as the strict imposition of quarantine restrains their movements and impairs their capacity to find a living. “They would starved to death as their food supply runs out,” he said.
Bishop Ranojo calls on the government to come to the aid of marginalized communities placed under militarized lockdown. “The government is duty-bound to provide special health and economic assistance to poor communities that have become more vulnerable because of the Covid-19 pandemic,” he added.
The Diocese of Tarlac’s Ayta Ministry is being implemented in partnership with the Ramento Project for Rights Defenders (RPRD).
(Photo courtesy of Fr. Alvin Valera of Tarlac)