ALL’S WELL. Mayor Morales and CDC President Tugade listen to concerns of stakeholders, including Aeta tribal leaders over Clark land. Photo by Bong Lacson
CLARK FREEPORT – The Clark Development Corp. (CDC) and a group of Aetas under the Mabalacat Aeta Tribal Association (MATA), with Mabalacat City Mayor Marino “Boking” Morales and former Congressman Carmelo “Tarzan” Lazatin mediating, have agreed to end their dispute and conduct another round of talks to iron out their differences.
This developed after CDC President-CEO Arthur Tugade met with the MATA led by its chairman Robert Serrano at the Mabalacat City Hall Extension Office here last Friday.
During the meeting, Tugade stressed that whatever animosity between the MATA and the CDC in the past should be left out in order to have a new round of peaceful and fruitful talks.
“Nandidito ako nagsusumamo sa inyo na mag usap-usap tayo ng walang emotional baggages. Sana ho ilagay na lang natin ang nakaraan sa ala-ala, ilagay natin sa hinaharap ang tuparin ang dapat tuparin pag-usapan ang dapat pag-usapan. Please lang walang lamangan, walang mang iisa.
Magkaisa tayo. (I am here appealing for your understanding that we should talk without any emotional baggages. I hope we can all put what happened in the past in our memories and let us put in the future what we should follow what should be agreed upon and negotiated. I am pleading to you that there should be no sly moves. Let us be one),” Tugade said.
This, as he assured MATA that their concerns will be looked into and their claims verified vis-à-vis with CDC claims for a win-win solution while admitting that many things were left out “but now is the time to find solutions” to whatever differences they had in the past. He added that there were things that were left undone but a lot of things were also done.
For his part, Serrano said a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the CDC and MATA was not followed and their safety in their relocation site in Sitio Bilad has been compromised leading to their immediate unrest.
Tribal chieftain Ruvielane S. Margarito said the MOA was signed because they were displaced in Sitio Haduan at Gate 14 and relocated to Sitio Bilad with the understanding that their concerns will be attended to.
Margarito also said they signed the MOA with CDC without the benefit of a legal counsel and a representative of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) with only then CDC President-CEO Levy P. Laus and their elders as the contracting parties.
Tugade told Serrano that he will personally conduct an inspection in Sitio Bilad and find out how it can be made safer in the light of heavy rains brought by the southwest monsoon.
Tugade also told Margarito that he understood her concerns and assured her they will be included in another round of talk with CDC.
Tugade vowed to abide with the proper procedures and will make an immediate presentation to the Board of the CDC as well as the Bases Conversion Development Authority for prompt action on the matter.
For his part, Lazatin urged MATA to talk again with CDC in a more conducive environment so that they could present their concerns in an amicable way.
Morales reminded MATA that they should abide with the contract that they signed with the CDC and told them to also thresh out their differences amicably.