El Nido IPs make headway in a land dispute with AyalaLand

El Nido IPs make headway in a land dispute with AyalaLand

Photo of the Tagbanua-Tandulanen Tribe (without face masks for photo purposes only).

By Rjhay E. Laurea

MANILA — Indigenous peoples (IPs) belonging to Tagbanua-Tandulanen tribe in El Nido, Palawan finally saw a flicker of hope, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel in relation to a land dispute over the alleged encroachment of the AyalaLand Corporation on their ancestral domain in Palawan.

This developed after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) intervened on the issue and reiterated the rights of indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) and IPs as stated in Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.

“Maraming salamat sa mga panalangin at tulong niyo mga insan, napag-usapan na namin ang steps (sa pagresolba) sa problema namin sa Ayala (Corporation), kasama ng mga abugado ng NCIP, at ng abugado ng tribu ng angkan at tribu namin,” Dayang Remedios Cabate-Cabral said to her distant relatives in Principalia Hereditary Council of the Philippines (Principalia Council).

Cabral is the head of the Tagbanua-Tandulanen tribe who is also a member of Principalia Council, an organization of descendants of pre-Hispanic nobilities.

The conflict stemmed in 2015 when the Ayala Corporation allegedly encroached on the ancestral domain of the above-mentioned ICC/IP to utilize the area as a tourism spot.

Cabral was even sent to a hot seat when the Municipal Council of El Nido, Palawan grilled and questioned their tribes’ authority over the disputed lands.

The local government unit and even the regional offices of some national agencies issued corresponding permits to the Ayala Corporation in relation with the development project in the disputed area.

However, the NCIP National Advisory No. 2021-08-001, signed by Chairman Allan A. Capuyan, revealed that the Commision have been receiving reports that there are national government agencies (NGAs), LGUs, government-owned and controlled corporations (GOCCs), that have been issuing permits to applicants/proponent, or are implementing their respective programs, projects and activities within ancestral domains without complying with the requirements of the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process and issuance of the necessary Certifications.

Capuyan said in his advisory that this is an utter disregard of the IPRA Law and in violation with the ICCs/IPs rights.
NCIP conducted an online meeting to settle the El Nido IP concerns.

“Soon to collect na rin po (kami) ng benefit shares/royalties para sa aming IP community mula (sa) Ayala (Corporation), at iba pang companies/corporations at iba pang mga business establishments. Mabuhay po kayo,” Cabral added, expressing her gratitude to the Principalia Council who also supported her tribe on the issue.

The Principalia Council is headed by their grand patriarch Lakan Sofronio “Toti” Dulay from the Royal House of Lakan Dula. (AI/MTVN)

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