THE THOMASIAN community’s loss in last year’s Paskuhan celebration is the gain of the Agta community of Gen. Nakar, Quezon. The Agtas were able to rebuild their community through the funds earlier earmarked for the fireworks display that were instead given to the Thomasian Relief Operation for the disaster-stricken province.

With the help of Tribal Center for Development (TCD), UST volunteers, headed by the UST Office for Community Development (OCD), built houses for the 20 Agta families residing in Sitio Ulalikan, through cash donations totalling P360,000.

Sitio Ulalikan in Gen. Nakar, which is only accessible by a three-hour boat ride or a 12-hour hike along the shoreline of Gen. Nakar, was severely destroyed by a succession of tropical storms late last year.

TCD, an Indigenous People’s Apostolate of the Prelature of Infanta and a partner of the OCD, saw the Agta community in their makeshift huts along the shores of the Pacific Ocean after typhoons displaced them from their original settlement in the mountain barangay of Sitio Ulalikan.

“We chose Sitio Ulalikan because very little was heard and much less was documented about the damages and casualties in the area,” OCD Director Jose Cruz III said. “No other agency would go there and no other assistance has ever reached the area even during the height of the calamity.”

Different units of the University donated part of their Christmas party funds, in addition to the money for the annual fireworks displays of the Paskuhan for the project. The Administrators, faculty members, employees, and students also gave cash donations and goods.

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