Aeta group wants dialogue with CDC on disputed land

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Saturday, August 23, 2014


MABALACAT CITY -- Members of the Mabalacat Aeta Tribal Association (Mata) are requesting for a dialogue with officials of Clark Development Corporation (CDC) to talk about the recent unauthorized use of their ancestral land by a Clark Freeport locator.

According to Ruvielane Margarito, a tribal chieftain of Sitio Bilad in Barangay Marcos Village, the said locator of Clark Freeport conducted fencing operations within the bounds of their ancestral domain without their permission.

Margarito added that indigenous people (IP) securing the area were surprised upon seeing the staff of the locator and CDC who were allegedly fencing the perimeter of a 20-hectare land in Barangay Marcos village.

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“That’s part of our ancestral domain. As what you can see, we were not even informed,” said Margarito.

Margarito presented a copy of their land title which states that the said 20-hectare land is included in their ancestral land covering 10,684 hectares. The said land title was released last December 12, 2004.

The IPs, however, also have in their possession a more recent land title dated last April 17, 2009 which stipulates that their ancestral domain was limited to only 10, 323 hectares.

According to this more recent land title, the 20-hectare land that is being fenced by the locator and CDC is excluded from the IP’s ancestral domain.

Although the said piece of land was excluded from the ancestral domain, the joint memorandum agreement, nevertheless, declares a collaborative undertaking between the CDC and the IPs in the over-all management of the 10,684-hectare land.

“We want to have a dialogue with them since it was also the CDC who insisted that there should a joint management agreement intervening between the two parties,” held Margarito.

Yesterday, the IPs attempted to impede the ongoing fencing activities which resulted to a tension between the CDC security guards and the residents.

The IPs also said they confiscated the equipment of the construction workers a few hours before they went to the CDC office to demand for the suspension of the fencing activities. The CDC officials, however, refused to talk with the IPs.

Mata officials told Sun.Star Pampanga that they are hoping to start a dialogue with the CDC officials within this week.

“There have been no concrete talks between the CDC and Mata so we still cannot clear everything out. But our main concern here is the fact that they did not even bother to knock on us about their plans on an area that is part of our ancestral land,” said Margarito.

This is not the first time that a land dispute occurred between the CDC and the Mata. Most recently, disagreements between the two parties took place following an alleged use of ancestral lands by a golf course and water park developer inside the Clark Freeport.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on August 24, 2014.

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