Cagayan de Oro City - Members of the Tribal Indigenous Oppressed Group Association (TINDOGA) are camping out today, monday morning, June 25, 2012 in front of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) – Region X, Macabalan, Cagayan de Oro in protest of the office’s concession to Pablo Lorenzo in his request for an extension on his application on the ancestral land of the Manobos in Quezon, Bukidnon.
“Why is it that the government offices are always giving allowances to these people who have money?” said Datu Santiano Andong Agdahan Jr. of TINDOGA. “They easily bend their policies for these people while when dealing with us, the poor indigenous peoples who really have the right to the land, they are strict and unyielding. In fact, we have been struggling for years for our Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) and yet until now, we do not have it because we are refusing to lease back our land to this Mr. Lorenzo.”
This was in reaction to the communication of the DENR to Mr. Pablo Lorenzo’s appeal for extension to comply with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) process for his ranch in the area of conflict. It can be recalled that in March this year, the guards of Mr. Lorenzo fired at the Manobo families who have tried to start tilling the lands and put up their homes in the area.
TINDOGA is insisting that the permit of Lorenzo be not approved. “They are giving time to Mr. Lorenzo so that they could give the rights to the land to him, finding a reason why they would not give us our title,” Datu Santiano said.
TINDOGA argues that even if the DENR would give time for Mr. Lorenzo to comply with the FPIC process, they are not giving their consent. They are wary that Mr. Lorenzo and the NCIP will create their own Lumad group which would endorse Mr. Lorenzo’s application, thus technically meeting the requirements for approval.
“This is not far from reality,” said Jomorito Goaynon, chairperson of Kalumbay Regional Lumad Organization of which TINDOGA is an observer-member. “We have several cases in Mindanao wherein a new organization was formed; datus were instituted by the NCIP, just so a project which was rejected by the original organization would be granted consent.”
The Manobos had been forced to leave the land when the government previously gave the rights to the land to the Rancho Montalvan. After the AFFLA #123 given to the Montalvan family expired in 2009, the group of TINDOGA immediately applied for their CADT. “Our forefathers did not know our rights then,” said Datu Santiano. “But now, we know better and we are asserting our rights.”
Datu Santiano Andong Agdahan Jr.
Head Claimant, TINDOGA
Datu Jomorito Guaynon
Kalumbay, Chairperson (Regional Lumad organization)
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