“(T)he NGO intruded the worship place and converted the area into Bantay Kalikasan ECO-ACADEMY Project without first securing the CP and FPIC which are required under RA 8371 otherwise known as Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA).”
by Ducky Paredes
This is a news report from Brooke’s Point in Palawan. It is a follow-up on what is happening at Sabsaban Falls, which has been taken over by environmentalists. One would think that they would be more careful about what they to the natural resource that they find in an area.
Here is the report: “The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) has ordered an environment advocate group to stop making further improvement on the worship place which it earlier intruded and converted into a resort early this year in Palawan.
“In a letter to the ABS-CBN Foundation Inc.-Bantay Kalikasan, the NCIP asked the NGO headed by Gina Lopez ‘to temporarily cease from further improving the subject area.’
“The letter dated Apiril 11, 2012 addressed to James Adrian Bicaldo, Officer-In-Charge of the Bantay Kalikasan in Palawan said the NGO should secure first the certificate of pre-condition (CP) from the NCIP and the free and prior informed consent (FPIC) from the ancestral domain owners.
“NCIP Field Officer Ricardo Sanga who issued the cease and decease order was acting on complaints of IP leaders on the illegal entry of the Bantay Kalikasan into the Sabsaban Falls in Sitio Sabsaban, Brgy. Aribungos on Mrch 25, 2012.
“The complaint said the NGO intruded the worship place and converted the area into Bantay Kalikasan ECO-ACADEMY Project without first securing the CP and FPIC which are required under RA 8371 otherwise known as Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) which prove that the affected IP communities have recommended the implementation of the project.
“Sanga issued the cease order after conducting an ocular inspection on the area on April 10, 2012 accompanied by IP leaders “results of which disclosed probable cause.”
“The IP leaders said Bantay Kalikasan, in converting the place into a resort, illegally cut grown trees earlier planted as river bank protection in the downstream of the falls. The NGO used the lumber from the felled trees in building houses and cottages.
“Gina Lopez, on the other hand, said their presence aims to save the place from mining because the mountain is sacred. Rather than put to mining, the area will be converted to a bio-diversity school, Lopez said.
“Lopez adds that the foundation is helping the indigenous people make money from forest products because they have medicinal herbs.
“The indigenous complained that because of the illegal occupation of the Sabsaban Falls, the tribal communities have been prevented from their usual practices including religious rituals, use of water from the falls and free access to the bridge for which, they are now being charged P5.00 per person every time they use the bridge which they themselves constructed funded by the local government.
“The Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (CENRO-DENR) allowed the cutting of the trees without first seeking clearance from the NCIP and the ancestral landowners in violation of the IPRA.
“The IP leaders through the Brooke’s Point Federation of Tribal Councils (BPFTC) represented by Fabio Lagan have charged Lopez, Bacaldo and and 20 others including Brooke’s Point Mayor Narciso Leoncio, CENRO-DENR officer Emelina Cojamco, Bgy. Chairmen Jonathan Lagrada of Ipilan and Ratib Milosin of Aribungos and members of their Sangguniang Barangay and Sister Xenia Mae Juanitas of the Agustinian Missionaries of the Philippines.
“The tribal leaders have asked the NCIP to order the respondents to pay P2,3000,000.00 in damages and litigation fees for illegally occupying and converting into a resort Sabsaban Falls, illegally cutting trees and constructing houses and cottages, and for other related activities in violation of the IPRA Law and rights of the indigenous people. “
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What the heck is going on here? Bantay Kalikasan claims that it is saving Sabsaban Falls from the miners. Is it also saving Sabsaban Falls from the indigenous people who have long been using these falls and its water for decades and who eve regard the falls as a sacred area?
And, who gave these environmentalists-capitalists the authority to charge these poor tribesmen P5.00 for using a bridge built with government funds and with the help of the native folk of the area?
Is it possible that having the miners coming into the area may be more beneficial than environmentalists taking Sabsaban Falls by force? They seem to me to be worse than mining companies who, at least, pay for what they use and would not dare charge the locals for doing the things that they had always been doing for centuries before the newcomers invaded the natives’ natural habitat.
Better watch out! You may be giving environmentalism a bad name in Brooke’s Point!
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Incidental Intelligence. Conchita Carpio-Morales was born in Paoay, Ilocos Norte, the daughter of Lucas D. Carpio, an RTC judge. Judge Lucas’ younger brother, Bernardo Carpio, was the father of SC Associate Justice Bernardo Carpio. Bernardo was a director in the Bureau of Internal Revenue who had, in his staff, the father of Renato Corona.
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The 8th and final leg of Rotary International District 3800 will be held at Orchard Golf and Country Club on Wednesday, June 6, 2012 with RC Pasig as the host club. The last tournament is also known as the Governor’s Cup since it is the last tournament of the Rotary year, RI District Governor Raffy Garcia of RC Pasig ends his term at the end of June.
Al RI 3800 Rotarians and their guests are invited to play, Tournament fee: P2,500.00
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hvp 05.16.12Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at email@example.com