JCI Manila Uplifts 13 Aeta Tribes’ Lives in Capas, Tarlac

A Simple Gift for a Complex Problem

Introducing a sustainable, cost-efficient, and accessible water filtration system was such a huge blessing to them as it was the first of its kind to reach their community and address the main cause of death and sickness. The water filtration set came courtesy of Waves for Water, a US based organization that aims to “get clean water to every person who needs it”. It works by instantly converting rainwater, water from rivers, or even water mixed with soil, into clean, potable water.

The filtration system lasts up to five years, in the course of which JCI will be conducting annual assessments. The chiefs discuss among themselves where to station the five filters per sitio to serve as a communal source of water, and in turn, a communal effort to ensure its maintenance.

Aside from enhancing camaraderie within the sitio or even inter-sitio, this system helps the locals be responsible for their health, thereby making them self-reliant and independent. Most importantly, with this steady supply of clean water, they no longer have to scrimp on water or drink straight from rivers. Their quality of life is prolonged as LBM, dehydration, diarrhea, infestation, and malnutrition especially in children can be avoided. As soon as the locals witnessed the system at work – converting mud water into clear water, they each took turns at drinking it.

Under the 2BIG Impact program, and with the help of Project Liwanag to bridge them to these hard-to-reach communities, Alec and his team from JCI Manila were able to bring in the bucket systems to test out its effectiveness in communities such as those in Tarlac. If the system proves to be successful, it can then be implemented in communities outside of Tarlac. With the system now being used in most parts of Asia, specifically in disaster-prone areas, more hard-to-reach communities will be able to have access to clean water, which can contribute to their overall development.

Active Players in their Development

Communities like the Aetas of Sitio Bulacan are just one example of the many tribes and communities throughout the Philippines that are underserved. Tribes like the Aetas have been around long before civilization and the land they have inherited from their ancestors reach as vast as tens of hectares yet they are experiencing such difficulty due to the influence of large corporations and the government. Organizations like JCI Manila exist because of this reality, and these communities depend on similar projects to sustain themselves.

However, JCI aims to make them active players in working towards their own development. Something as simple as a water filtration system may just provide clean water, but the effect of such a donation benefits generations of Aetas to come. In the words of Kagawad Abella Castañeda: “Masaya ako dahil may nagbigay sa atin ng [sustainable] tubig, at hindi lang mga bote ng mineral water, dahil wala pang nagbibigay sa amin nito… Salamat sa inyo dahil naibibigay niyo ang dapat binibigay ng gobyerno.” [I am happy because someone has given us sustainable water and not just bottles of mineral water, since no one has thought of giving these yet… Thank you for doing the job that the government should be doing.]

At the end of the day, “sama-samang pag-unlad” (working together for development) is really the goal for all outreach programs, and not simply providing band-aid solutions. Imagine, if each outreach made communities feel like they were in control of their future and not just benefactors, how big of an impact would that make?

JCI Manila would like to thank the H2Ope Team: Jon Alec Velasco – Project Chairman, Miguel Imperial – Co-Chairman, Nicolae Sevilla – Committee/Head of Marketing, Vincein Ilagan – Committee/Head of Finance, Ronald Vincent Fortez – Chairman of Water, Mark Sta. Maria – Director of Community Development, and Joaquin Esquivias – President of JCI Manila.

H2Ope would not have been possible without the following: MAJOR SPONSORS: ICTSI Foundation, Inc. – RAMPVER Financials – AQUA BEST – A.R.C. Lanting Manpower Services – PAULINE’s Printing, and OTHER SPONSORS: Intelligent Solutions Phils. Inc. (ISPI) – Membrane Separation Technology (MST) Trading Inc. – Sweet Solutions by Wax Lab – Nescy Ardales

JCI Manila


Waves for Water


Project Liwanag

Project Liwanag



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