Zambales is made up of 13 municipalities and one city covering 247 barangays (villages). It has a total land area of 371,440 hectares. Its topography is varied, with a terrain that ranges from flat to rugged to mountainous. Zambales is a narrow belt of land, bounded by the West Philippine Sea and the Zambales Mountain Ranges. The effects of the Mount Pinatubo eruption are still felt with lahar in the mountains and destructive floods during the rainy season. In Zambales, PDI is in 17 barangays in 7 municipalities and one city: Botolan (Barangays San Juan, Poonbato, Palis, Belbel), Masinloc (Barangays Taltal, Baloganon, Sto. Rosario, and San Lorenzo), Palauig (Brgys. Banawen and Tinuraw), Cabangan (Brgys. Maporac and Cadmang), Candelaria (Barangays Yamot and Pinagrealan), Iba (Amungan and Bangantalinga), San Marcelino (Brgy. Sta. Fe) and Olongapo City.
Water Tank in Belbel
Water plays an important part in the lives of the Aetas of Zambales. They use it for drinking, bathing and farming. The problem with water is access especially in the mountain range near Mt. Pinatubo where many Aetas have come home to live and work in their ancestral lands. The Aetas need to walk kilometers just to fetch water; because of this the water is prone to spillage and contamination.
Mindful of their need, PDI with support from EED/ Bread for the World constructed a water tank in Belbel, a barangay in Baytan, in the Mt. Pinatubo area. Now, the Aetas of Zambales are able to access potable water. It was reported that there has been no incidence of water-borne diseases affecting the area. Higher crop yields were also reported because of the water that is readily available. Lastly, now that the water source is near, the mothers who are tasked to fetch water have more time to tend to the children, do household chores and help with the crops.
Truck for delivering goods of IPs
Many of the Aetas in Zambales rely on farming as their main source of income. Due to their distance from the town proper and market areas, their sales are limited to middlemen who come to their area to purchase their produce and dictate prices. If they choose to bring their goods to the market, the only available low-cost transportation is by carts pulled by carabaos. The goods take longer to reach the market because the carts are slow, causing spoilage and losses.
By providing a truck that would deliver their goods to the market, the middlemen are eliminated which translates to more income for the farmer Aetas. The truck also serves as a means of transportation for the Aetas in cases of emergency or for transporting people to attend important activities in the town.
The truck has been useful in many ways to the Aetas. The truck serves as their contact to the outside world.
220 Non-Formal Education learners graduated last May 21, 2015 in Botolan, Zambales. Most of the learners traveled hours from the Mt. Pinatubo area just to reach the venue and finally graduate. This shows how determined these learners are. PDI, LGU and DepEd worked together to make this ceremony a success.
Processing of Supermix
To provide a source of livelihood to those who were affected by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, the Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng PASARA of Zambales started production of Supermix, a combination of dried pounded cassava, moringa, and squash; a nutritious add-on to rice and viands. Thanks to DOST, LGU and PDI, the Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng PASARA has a sustainable income earning project to support them and their families.