BCDA told to return IP land

LUBAO – Speaker of the House Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and Governor Lilia ‘Nanay’ Pineda have appealed to the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) to return the ancestral domain of Indigenous Peoples (IP) in Barangay Inararo, Porac town. 

“Maging malambot naman kayo sa mga Katutubo natin. Magtulungan tayo para maayos natin ito,” Gov. Pineda told Engr. Joshua Bingcang, BCDA Senior Vice President for Business Development. 

The Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) for 16,000 hectares in the said town was taken care of by SGMA in July 2009, when she was in hospital arrest. 

However, during the term of former President Corazon ‘Cory’ Aquino’s, 5,000 hectares of the 16,000 hectares, was given to BCDA without a title.

“Inayos ko iyan noong 2009 para sa mga katutubo. May title, pero hindi pa naka-rehistro. Pero nung kay President Cory, walang titulo,” the Former Pres. reiterated.

“Noong naayos ‘yan noon, wala pong naging gastos ang mga katutubo natin. Ni piso, wala po,” Atty. Eugenio Insigne added, who was then National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Chairperson.

The lady leaders suggested that if the 5,000 hectares would not be given back to the IPs, the BCDA, with Kalinga Congressman Allen Mangaoang who also attended the meeting, should re-survey the land to identify which area can be used or not. 

“Mag-arkila tayo ng helicopter kapag nag-survey. Invite rin natin ang DENR, Bureau of Plant, dahil kabisado na nila yan at sila ang nakakaalam ng protected land dyan,” the Gov. mentioned. 

According to Mangaoang, also Chairperson of Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples, they are willing to inspect the place to resolve the issue as soon as possible. 

Meanwhile, if investors would come for business in the land, or there is one already, the Aetas should also receive their income shares, the lady leaders said. 

“Yung hindi niyo na magagamit, dahil bulubundukin naman talaga yon, bigay niyo na sa mga katutubo. Hayaan ninyo na lang sa kanila yon. Hindi ninyo naman mapapakinabangan, sila pwede pa nilang pagtamnan,” Gov. Pineda added.

With that, Atty. Insigne said, the BCDA and the IPs could settle and sign a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

“Tulungan natin ang maliliit, tulungan natin ang mahihirap, huwag natin silang labanan,” the lady Governor insisted.

Also in the meeting to support the IPs were Porac Mayor Condralito ‘Carling’ Dela Cruz, Lubao Mayor and incoming Second District Board Member Mylyn Pineda-Cayabyab, Board Member Fritzie David-Dizon, Provincial Social Welfare and Development Officer Elizabeth Baybayan, Clark Development Corporation Assistant Vice President for Administration Zoraida Camello, Land Registration Authority personnel, and some members of Porac council. 

The assembly is set to continue in July. # Leah Isidro De Fiesta