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In the 50's/60's there was a problem in the Philippines with a communist group called the Huks. They would infiltrate into the US Bases..Subic Bay Naval Base and Clark Airforce base. The Huks would sabotage machinery, steal munitions and weapons and occaisionally murder Americans they happened to catch on the outskirts of Olongapo and other towns.

In one of the few wise moves made by the US Brass, an agreement was set up with a tribe of hunter-gatherers who live in the jungles surrounding the US bases on Luzon. The people are called Negritos. Anthropologists hypothesize they may be related to the pygmies of Africa.

These small folk not only know the jungle like the back of their hand...they are superb hunters who use poison tipped spears and primitive bows and arrows to stalk their prey..traditionally small mammals, birds and fish.

The agreement with the US military changed all that...the Negritos' prime target was now the Huk guerrillas. The Negritos were tasked to patrol the perimeters of the US bases and "discourage" the Huks from entering.

In return for this service, the Negritos were given free access to the US Bases and the use of all the facilities therein. (I can only speak for Subic Bay, but I'm sure it was the same at Clark). It was not unusual to be in the mess hall and see a group of these primitive people come wandering in...they had head of the chow line privileges and would usually march right up to the soft ice cream machine and help themselves. They would be carrying their spears and bows, although later on a few could be seen carrying firearms either provided by the US or taken from their Huk victims.

Riding by in a bus on the outskirts of the base, I have observed these folk standing motionless in a pool of water, spear poised waiting to spear a fish. Sometimes the bus would stop in the middle of "nowhere" and some Negritos would appear out of "nowhere" and hop on the bus for a short stretch, only to get out and disappear again.

The techrep hunter mentioned in Mitchener's story is an amateur compared to the Negritos...who hunt to live.



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