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Uphold IP land rights

opinion / Latest Opinion
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Uphold IP land rights

/ 05:10 AM November 09, 2017

The Magbukun Ayta community in the Kanawan Reservation Area in Morong, Bataan, strongly condemns the blatant disregard of certain government officials of their ancestral domain rights.

In a recent dialogue, the leaders of the community expressed grave concern about the seeming disrespect of Department of Environment and Natural Resources officials to the community.

According to the chieftain and the tribal council, officials from the local DENR office have engaged in activities that are contrary to the interests of the community.

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The community leaders are also concerned about the repeated bypassing of the local DENR in making vital decisions that directly affect the ancestral lands of the tribe — contrary  to what is expressly stated in the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (Ipra) of 1997.

Just recently, in stark violation of the provisions under the Philippine Constitution and Ipra that safeguard the rights of indigenous peoples to self-determination within their lands, the protected area superintendent (Pasu) of the Bataan National Park has refused to honor the community’s decision to establish a coconut plantation in their own ancestral domain.

The community is disturbed that the Pasu is requesting documents from them regarding the aforementioned coconut plantation project since the community is the rightful owner of the lands on which the plantation will be established. Not acceding to the will of the community entails that the Pasu is either ignorant or irreverent to the community’s legal rights.

We call upon the proper authorities to act on the matter. It is also the express wish of the community to have an audience with Malacañang to have their grievances heard and hopefully redressed.

NICOLAS CZAR ANTONIO, Philippine Science High School-Central Luzon Campus

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TAGS: Indigenous Peoples, Inquirer letters, IP land rights, Nicolas Czar Antonio
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