Government body backs Ati tribe’s claim to Boracay land
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) on Thursday expressed support for the Ati tribe’s habitation of their ancestral land in Boracay, rallying the locals and tourists to help them reclaim a portion of their “lost paradise.”
NCIP chairperson Zenaida Brigida H. Pawid said the Atis could occupy the land because they had been issued the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) in August 2010.
“Boracay is theirs,’’ Pawid said in an interview. “They have the right to [reside there] because it is their ancestral domain. They should not be prohibited from taking possession of the area.’’
Pawid said the NCIP would issue the writ of possession on April 25, formally turning over to the Atis the 2.1-hectare land in Barangay (village) Manoc-manoc, Malay town. But he acknowledged that the three other claimants could appeal this.
Atis chieftain Delsa Justo and tribe members occupied the land on the southern end of the 1,032 hectare Boracay island last Tuesday, amid the construction of homes and widening of roads by the three claimants.
The claimants, citing prior possession of the land, had questioned the NCIP’s awarding of the title to the Atis before a local court in Kalibo, Aklan, and sought a cancellation. TJ Burgonio