Palawan tribal folk hit use of fake leaders
Indigenous leaders from Palawan on Monday night condemned what they said was the use of “fake” tribal leaders by MacroAsia Corp. and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to undermine procedures for the approval of mining operations in protected tribal lands.
In a press conference at the House of Representatives, the tribal leaders decried as “manipulative” the use of 30 “fake” tribal chieftains who went to Manila recently to express their support for mining activities in Palawan by the Lucio Tan-owned MacroAsia group.
“By creating ad hoc tribal leaders, the NCIP and MacroAsia have bluntly disregarded local decision-making processes that are customarily facilitated by elders and so-called panglima (traditional leaders),” said Artiso Mandawa, chair of Ancestral Land Domain Watch (Aldaw).
Mandawa said that none of the 30 so-called tribal leaders lived in their ancestral domain. He said 15 of them did not even belong to the Palawan ethnic group while eight others were only “half-blood Palawanon.”
Of the remaining seven, two come from other parts of Palawan and five from the lowland, and “have no connections whatsoever with the upland communities to be directly impacted by MacroAsia mining activities.”
Ifugao Rep. Teddy Brawner Baguilat, chair of the committee on national cultural communities, and Laguna Rep. Dan Fernandez, chair of the committee on ecology, met with the tribal leaders of Palawan at the House and promised to conduct separate inquiries into the matter.
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