CDC stops digging, road clearing in Aeta land
MABALACAT CITY—The Clark Development Corp. (CDC) has issued a cease-and-desist order against the digging and other earth-moving activities being done in an Aeta community inside the Clark Special Economic Zone here.
In a statement on Thursday, the CDC said it halted the road clearing operations at Sitio Monicayo and Sitio Calapi, both located in Calumpang village in this city and situated inside the 32,000-hectare special economic zone.
According to the CDC, the area is covered by Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title 025-A and is jointly managed by the CDC, the local indigenous group Tribong Ayta and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
Engineer Leoncio Tan, CDC’s acting building official and manager, issued the order on Sept. 12 against Rolando Capiz, who allegedly has been renting heavy equipment for the unauthorized activities in Calumpang.
“The order was prompted by the lack of the required environmental and construction permits, as mandated by the CDC,” the state-owned corporation said, adding that the issuance of the order was based on the provisions of the National Building Code requiring permits for construction activities and similar works.
In a chat message to the Inquirer on Thursday, Capiz, however, said he was hired by leaders of Tribong Ayta to clear the road in the area.
Hired by tribe
“As far as I know, that road is being cleared of obstructions to help members of that Aeta community to conveniently bring their goods to the city [center]. No development is being done here,” Capiz said.
He said he did not rent the heavy equipment or hire workers for the road clearing operation.
“I’m just a daily wage worker of the IPs (indigenous peoples),” Capiz said.
The CDC said lawyer Agnes Devanadera, the state corporation’s president and chief executive officer, wrote to Director Gilbert Gonzales of the Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) on Aug. 11 “urging action on the extensive 300-ha earth-moving activities.”
Devanadera also requested that the EMB issue appropriate sanctions since the activity lacked the required environmental compliance certificate.
On July 31, CDC Assistant Vice President for external affairs Rommel Narciso wrote to NCIP Central Luzon Director Roland Calde to determine if a Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) process, or proper consultation with IP groups, was done and if a Certification Precondition (CP) was issued for the development activities being conducted in the area.
The CP is a certification issued by the NCIP “as a precondition to the grant of permit, lease, grant, or any other similar authority for the disposition, utilization, management and appropriation by any private individual, corporate entity or any government agency, corporation or subdivision thereof on any part or portion of the ancestral domain taking into consideration the consensus approval of the ICCs (indigenous cultural communities)/IPs concerned.”
Calde, in a Sept. 12 letter, informed the CDC that an investigation had been conducted on Aug. 29, revealing that the earth-moving activities had no FPIC application, the CDC said.
No officials of Tribong Ayta were immediately available for comment on Thursday.