Datu complains of land-grabbing

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Monday, July 14, 2014


A DATU of the Obu-Manuvu-Tahawrog Tribe complained of land grabbing in their ancestral lands in Barangay Marilog Proper, Marilog District.

Datu Santos Nogan, who went to Sun.Star Davao on Friday, said that the person who was given a Certificate of Stewardship (name withheld) has been entitled to 2.05 hectares of land to develop but the grantee had wanted to expand this to 30 hectares.

He said they reported this to the barangay, saying the grantee's action is a violation of Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (Ipra) but they were not entertained by the barangay.

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Nogan said the grantee cannot just force the expansion, which would result in some of the tribe members to be forced to leave their land.

"Paminawon unta mi nila kay naa sa amo-a ang mga papelis, ug amoang pamatud-an nga amo gyod kini nga yuta. Kung papahawaon man mi, kinahanglan naa silay mga pagpamatuod nga nailaha na ang yuta (They should listen to us because we have the documentary proof that the land is ours. If they are going to force us to leave, they should show documentary evidence that proves that the land is theirs)," Nogan said.

"Bisan ang barangay sa among dapit, mura'g di man mi, paminawon, unsa mani sila aning negusyante, nganong ani man (Even our barangay seems like they don't want to listen to us. What is their agreement with the barangay, that we are experiencing problems like this)?" he added.

Nogan said they lifted the issue to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)-Davao.

In a letter to the City Environment and Natural Resources Office, dated January 21, 2011, NCIP said "the stewardship agreement has an expiry date of October 3, 2008. This stewardship agreement therefore has already been expired."

Further, the NCIP states that grantee has also applied for the renewal of the grant but it is a violation of the Ipra because "lands subject to stewardship grant which has already expired must be reverted back to the ancestral domain where it belongs."

However, Nogan said up to now, there has been no action from the authorities as to what to do with the land that belongs to them. He said they have reported this to authorities and even raised this to the court but no action happened.

Nogan said recently, they have experienced some harassment, like having their banana trees cut down and their plantations being sprayed with chemicals. He is alleging the grantee's camp for committing the acts.

"Sa ilang ka walay kaluoy, gipamu-o nila among mga pananom, gipamaligya pa ang mga bunga niini (They cut down our crops and also sold some of it, they were merciless)," he said.

He said they will be filing a case and hopes that this will be settled soon.

Sun.Star Davao was unable to contact the grantee as his contact information is unavailable. The barangay captain was also called but he did not reply.

Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on July 15, 2014.

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