BUTUAN CITY-Some 50 indigenous people belonging to Mayapay Tribal Council are now on their third day in barricading a city road in Barangay Bonbon this city which they claimed belonged to their 7,062.63 ancestral lands.
The lumads headed by Tribal Chieftain Datu Malingat Aurelio Talibong, Jr. told newsmen they were dismayed by their long overdue complaints to the government on certain individuals some moneyed businessmen in the city occupying already their ancestral lands without their consent.
Talibong said illegal occupants disrespect their rights as embodied by Republic Act 8371 otherwise known Indigenous People’s Rights Act
A personnel from the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) Jose Dumagat, Jr. present during interview by some local newsmen present agreed with Datu Manlingat claiming he also wondered why some people occupying lands within ancestral domain area acquired land title when it was supposed to be classified timberlands aside from being an ancestral lands.
Datu Malingat said they will not removed their checkpoint saying it is their right under IPRA law as provided by sections 7, 10, and 59 of R.A. 8371 that they have rights to protect their ancestral lands for further encroachment by what they described illegal occupants.
“We wanted government to settle this issue as peaceful as possible, we are only claiming what is ours because there is a law that guarantees our rights given to us since time immemorial”, Datu Manlingat said.
Earlier, DENR Secretary Ramon Paje, Jr and NCIP Chairman Atty. Roque Agton, Jr. in a one page ads published September 8, 2010 over a major national daily urged the public to respect ancestral lands and domains in the country.
The two cabinet secretaries who signed the “SO THE PUBLIC MAY KNOW” one page ads said officially that “any sale and conveyance of ancestral lands and parts of ancestral domain that rightfully belong to Indigenous people/ICCs is ILLEGAL”
Agton and Paje told the general public in that ads “we must respect ancestral lands and domains”.(-30-)