Manobo tribes file criminal, administrative charges vs. Butuan Water District

by Ben Serrano

November 12, 2010


            BUTUAN CITY (PNA) - Thirteen Manobo tribal leaders, all officials and members of the Tribal Council of Anticala which claimed ancestral domain rights in Barangays Anticala and Pianing filed criminal and administrative charges against officials and members of the board of the Butuan City Water District (BCWD) for failure to obtain free prior information and consent  for the water firm’s operation in their area.


            Complainants who filed their complaints before NCIP court at the NCIP regional office in Caraga Region and City Prosecutors’ Office were Hawudon Butwasan Ernie Cabaton, Hawudon Emilio Kabulay Egom, Hawudon Pandugukan II Diomedes A. Guinsod, Hawudon Tumutuwas Ii Arcelito F. Mandag, Jr., Hawudon Pinagdugluman Angelito Mambatac, Hawudon Linisigan Dominador Enggayas, Bae Haropay Avelina Tindogan, Bae Lingganay Helen Porajas, Bae Pianguinday, Baylan Kibyatan, Hawudon Sinawalang, Hawudon Daaw Roque and Hawudon Datu Buhay Ruben Dapeniagan.


            Attached in their complaint affidavits is their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title No. R-13-BUT-0909-135 issued September 23, 2009 by then NCIP Chairperson Atty. Eugenio Ensigne.


Said CADT covers 5,000 hectares of ancestral lands in Barangays Anticala and Pianing, all in Butuan City, the title document said which was also furnished to this writer.


Said areas claimed by the Manobos as theirs were also under Taguibo Watershed Protected Area proclaimed then by President Fidel Valdez Ramos in1993.


In their complaint sworn affidavits also furnished to this writer, the complainants complained that sometime in August 2009, Butuan City Water District installed a multi-million water filtration gallery in Taguibo River which is under their ancestral lands per title issued to them by the NCIP.


The installation of said water filtration plant paved the way for commercial distribution of potable water supply to more than 100,000 water concessionaires of Butuan City by which the water district is earning, the lumads complained.


The lumads also alleged that when their ancestral area was declared as watershed, indigenous people living in the area were not consulted under free prior consent and information provisions of the IPRA law.


They complained encroachment into their ancestral lands without consultations are both criminal and administrative violations as provided by IPRA law.


The Manobo tribesmen seek both moral and exemplary damages from Butuan City Water District   BCWD has been operating in the area since 1974.


PNA tried to contact thrice and even went personally to the BCWD office again three times aside from calling through their landlines to get their side but to no avail.


The Manobo tribes named respondents in their complaints against BCWD were; BCWD Chairman of the Board Juanito Lao, Vice Chairman Crispin Young, Secretary of the BCWD Board Patricia Bunol; Pablito Tiu, Treasurer of the Board; Members of the Board Ferdinand Piencenaves and Engr. Anselmo Sangtian, General Manager, BCWD. (PNA/Ben Serrano)