Porac Aeta folk hit non-indigenous groups taking over ancestral lands

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    ANGELES CITY- Aeta cultural minorities have sought government help against alleged exploitation by “organized non-indigenous” groups now taking over their ancestral lands west of the Clark freeport zone.

    Members of an Aeta community in Sitio Pidpid, Barangay Sapang Uwak in Porac, Pampanga have filed a formal complaint against members of the Aniban ng Nagkakaisang Mamamayan ng Hacienda Dolores and Alyansa ng Magbubukid at Residente ng Hacienda Dolores who allegedly have been laying claim to their lands starting last year.

    In a letter to the regional office of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) signed by Paramay Sibal, the designated representative of the said Aeta community, non-indigenous folk belonging to the two groups “established residences and fenced off portions of lands” within their ancestral domain.

    “They also instigated unfair trade in the community, selling overpriced goods such as coffee, rice and sugar while buying from Aetas their produce at very low cost,” the letter noted.

    Cited in the complaint were Catalino David, Omar Franco, Cornelio Pineda, Rafael Ignacio, Ignacio Ignacio, Bodoy David, Poloy Tolentino, Bonjing Pineda, Alan Ayson, Elizabeth Salunga and Oling Ayson.

    Some were identified as residents of Barangay Sapang Uwak, while others were identified as being from nearby Barangay Hacienda Dolores.

    Sibal noted that Section 10, Chapter III of the Republic Act 8731 or “The Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997” states that unauthorized and unlawful intrusion upon or use of any portion of ancestral domain is punishable by law.

    He also noted that the law required the government to “take measures to prevent non-indigenous people from taking advantage of indigenous customs or indigenous peoples’ lack of understanding of the law to secure ownership or possession of ancestral domain.”

    Sibal, in his complaint filed through legal counsel Rolando Arellano, also sought the ejection of the alleged illegal settlers from whom he sought damages worth P50,000 from each of the respondents.

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