by James A. Loyola
Published June 11, 2021, 8:00 AM
Despite repeated shutdowns of its hotel and gaming businesses due to the pandemic, Solaire Resort and Casino continues its social projects through its corporate social responsibility arm Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc. (BCFI).
Groundbreaking for Aeta family centers (from left): Achiebon A. Estanislao, Barangay Captain San Marcos Village, Mabalacat, Pampanga, Atty. Roland P. Calde, Regional Director of Region III- National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Filipina C. Laurena, Executive Director, Bloomberry Cultural Foundation, Inc. (BCFI), PBGen Manuel L. Gaerlan (Ret), President of Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and Jose De Jesus, former CDC Chairman.
One of its projects is the construction of five Pagsasarili Family Care Centers for each of the five Aeta sitios located within the municipalities of Mabalacat, Pampanga and Bamban, Tarlac.
These are Sitios Calapi, San Vicente, Sto. Nino, Burog and Marcos Village – all within the Sacobia Mountain.
With funding from BCFI, the centers will be one-stop-multi-purpose structures where Aeta residents of the said sitios may avail of social services such as daycare education, livelihood trainings, a feeding program and health services. The centers will also showcase Aeta culture.
In line with one of BCFI’s pillars on the protection of the environment, all the centers will be equipped with solar panels and rain harvesting capability to support the centers’ water and power requirements.
The Clark Development Corporation (CDC) will handle the centers’ operation in partnership with O.B. Montessori and the local government units of Mabalacat and Bamban.
“This one-stop-multi-purpose facility, which will make social services accessible to our Aeta brothers in mountainous or far-flung marginalized areas is, perhaps, a first of its kind,” said BCFI Executive Director Filipina C. Laurena.
She added that, “BCFI welcomes the opportunity to be part of this worthwhile endeavor in partnership with Clark Development Corporation.”
“BCFI and PAGCOR, under our Cultural Heritage Program, will continue to pursue projects that will help the government in the delivery of basic social services for the uplift of indigenous peoples,” said BCFI President Donato C. Almeda.
He noted that, “Prior to this project, we also had a solar electrification project which benefited 11 Aeta sitios in Capas, Tarlac.”
This is just one of the public-private-partnership projects of BCFI and PAGCOR, which have been jointly undertaking projects in recent years covering environment protection and health, education and cultural heritage.