Baguio mayor tells BEFADIPO: Join consultations

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Monday, April 21, 2014


BAGUIO City Mayor Mauricio Domogan stressed consultations conducted by the BLISTT Governing Council are all inclusive.

This after the Benguet Federation of Ancestral Domain Indigenous Peoples Organization came up with a resolution "requesting the BLISTT Governing Council to conduct extensive coordination and consultation with Municipal Ancestral Domain owners through their respective Indigenous Peoples Organizations in the Municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay regarding the BLISTT Development Concept."

"[The group] is already part of their respective municipalities. So when a municipality consults with its people, they must join. The problem with these people, they are segregating themselves from the entire community," Domogan, who chairs the BLISTT Governing Council, told Sun.Star Baguio.

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"In our last consultation in Tuba, we never told them not to be there. They must join the entire stream of society. They want to be consulted exclusively but I do not think also that this is the right attitude," he added.

In a press statement by the BEFADIPO, it stated, "It should be pointed out, if the governing council members are not yet aware, that the municipalities of La Trinidad, Itogon, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay, and all the municipalities in Benguet for the matter, are declared as individual ancestral domains with Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) approved by the [National Commission on Indigenous Peoples] about five years ago."

"As such, the domain’s communal owners are entitled to rights to their ancestral domain which includes, among others, the right to safe and clean air and water, right to develop lands and natural resources, right to determine and decide priorities for development and right to participate in decision making per Sections 8, 16, and 17 of RA 8371, otherwise known as IPRA (Indigenous Peoples Rights Act),” it added.

According to Mayor Domogan, issues on these claims may be properly resolved.
“There is no problem there because there is a certain set of laws that must be followed not only on ancestral land claims but including other titled properties,” he stressed, adding, “Why do we somewhat give higher treatment to an ancestral land title compared to another title? It cannot be.”

Domogan said there was an advice for these ancestral land claims to be noted in the City Land Use Plan.

“For what? Of course, titled properties, either by judicial legislation or by the NCIP law, must be treated of equal footing,” Domogan said
“The only difference is that ancestral claimants are not supposed to sell their lands which unfortunately are being sold left and right,” he lamented.

On the other hand, Mayor Domogan said he and the other mayors of the governing council are open to meeting with leaders of the BEFADIPO but only to stress the group must join the consultations together with the community members.

“While we are not opposing the BLISTT development concept per se, the concerned IPOs in the covered five municipal ancestral domains feel apprehensive and insulted because they are not being consulted or are being ignored in this matter that will greatly affect their domain,” the BEFADIPO statement ended.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 22, 2014.

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