Three Aeta women from Barangay Sapang Bato in Pampanga and Sitio Kalangitan in Tarlac were recently hired as sales representatives of one of the world’s largest sporting goods retailers, Decathlon, at their concept store in SM Clark, Pampanga.
This forms part of Bases Conversion and Development Authority’s (BCDA) and Decathlon Philippines’ corporate inclusion program, which aims to build a culture of social contribution by improving livelihood opportunities especially to vulnerable households within surrounding communities in Pampanga and Tarlac.
“Masaya po kami at natanggap po kami dito sa Decathlon. Lubos po kaming nagpapasalamat sa Decathlon at BCDA sa pagbibigay ng oportunidad sa amin na makapagtrabaho. Magiging malaking tulong ito sa amin at sa aming pamilya (We are happy to have been accepted here at Decathlon. We are very grateful to Decathlon and BCDA for giving us the opportunity to work. It will be a great help to us and to our family),” said Meri Grace Garilles from Sitio Kalangitan in Capas, Tarlac.
As part of Decathlon’s corporate inclusion program, 15 men and women from Aeta communities in Tarlac and Pampanga were shortlisted by BCDA to attend a series of company briefing and tour as well as customer service training with Decathlon sports leaders - in an aim to prepare them for future employment.
Of the 15 Aeta youths for employment opportunities in Decathlon, Ms. Garilles and Marianne Manalo of Sitio Kalangitan as well as Manilyn Pan of Barangay Sapang Bato in Pampanga bagged employment contracts with Decathlon Philippines.
“As we bring economic opportunities in Northern and Central Luzon through the cities we develop, we must make a conscious effort to bring those opportunities to all, especially to vulnerable households within those communities. This holiday season, we at BCDA believe that the best present we can give to the project-affected communities is linking them to employment opportunities that may help improve their quality of life. This would not be possible without our partners, like Decathlon Philippines, whose values are very much aligned with ours,” said BCDA President and Chief Executive Officer Engr. Joshua M. Bingcang.
A study conducted by the Asian Development Bank showed that roughly 23.93% households in Central Luzon were identified as vulnerable households, meaning their estimated monthly incomes fall within or below the Php 9,999 bracket. This partnership with Decathlon Philippines aims to help address that by linking members of its project-affected communities to employment opportunities within BCDA’s properties.
This forms part of BCDA’s corporate social responsibility programs for its project-affected communities.
Tarlac serves as home to BCDA’s flagship project, the 9,450-hectare New Clark City, a greenfield development positioned to be an inclusive, resilient, sustainable, and smart city. This major metropolis is being developed to help decongest Metro Manila and serve as an investment hub to catalyze growth in Central and Northern Luzon.
Pampanga, meanwhile, houses Clark Freeport Zone, a modern industrial estate that has been a key driver of progress in Central Luzon; as well as the Clark International Airport Complex, a master planned mixed-use commercial and business center located adjacent to Clark International Airport.