EIGHT former officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) were recently charged before the Sandiganbayan for alleged illegal titling of ancestral lands in General Santos City.

Charged by the Office of the Ombudsman for violating Republic Act 9649 (General Santos City Charter) were former NCIP chairman Eugenio Isigne and former commissioners Rolando Rivera, Rizalina Segundo, Noel Felongco, Janette Serrano-Reisland, Felecito Masagnay and Miguel Sia-Apostol and former regional director Jeanne Anne Moendeg-Zoilo.

Based on the complaint filed by former General Santos City representative Darlene Antonino-Custodio, it was revealed that three certificates on ancestral land title (CALT) were issued to private individuals in 2009 and 2010 without proper consultation and approval of the City Government.

The CALTs cover a 4,040-hectare land in Barangays Fatima and Bawing in General Santos City.

Presidential Decree 219 declared these areas as reservation for the establishment of an international airport.

Under RA 9649, the City Government shall exercise all rights and prerogatives over alls land of public domain.

The City Government must also be consulted and informed of any land disposition, administration and management. (Marie Shane Krizzia Delgado, UST intern)