IP sues Cimatu over coffee plantation case
An indigenous peoples (IP) group has filed a suit against Environment Secretary Roy Cimatu for neglect of duty, allegedly for failing to stop the illegal operation of a coffee plantation on their ancestral domain.
The special civil action was filed by T’boli-Manobo S’daf Claimants Organization (Tamasco) on Friday before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court, with the support of Task Force Tamasco, an alliance of nongovernmental organizations supporting the legal claim of the indigenous group.
No IP consent
Tamasco claimed that the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), under Cimatu, had violated the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act for failing to secure their consent before any activity will be done on their domain.
The Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRC), which serves as Tamasco’s legal counsel, said the Dawang Coffee Plantation encroached on the ancestral land of the T’boli and Manobo in South Cotabato and Sultan Kudarat provinces.
The plantation is reportedly operated by M&S Co. under an Integrated Forest Management Agreement with the DENR.
LRC said this agreement expired in 2016, but was renewed by the DENR.
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