Aetas settle conflict on quarry fees
CLARK FREEPORT — Tension among Aetas over shares from fees collected for hauling sand from Mount Pinatubo was eased on Thursday, after four groups agreed to a P550 fee.
The Aeta groups have fought over the fees, prompting some groups to put up blockades on the access to Sacobia River in this free port starting May.
Each group has asserted its rights as granted by the certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) 025 issued to the Aeta tribes by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in 2006. The CADT covers more than 10,300 hectares, mostly in Bamban town side of Sacobia.
Following talks, they agreed to “royalty payments.” Sangguniang Tribung Aeta (STA) ng CADT 025 approved on July 18 a resolution allowing the desilting of “our own private property along Sacobia River within CADT 025.” They will receive a P200 royalty per transaction.
Mabalacat Aeta Tribal Association (Mata), Aeta Council of Elders (Ace), and Bamban Aeta Tribal Association (Bata) are each entitled to P100 while Task Force CADT 025 gets P50.
Oscar Rivera was ousted as president of Bata as a result of the agreement, which was undertaken after Vivencio Dizon, president of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), informed quarry permit holders in a July 18 memorandum that the Clark Development Corp. (CDC) would “temporarily suspend all desilting activities in the area” until issues among the Aeta groups were resolved.
Dizon also ordered the CDC assets management division to “refrain from issuing the corresponding loading permits,” amounting to P90 for dump trucks, P120 for cargo trucks and P270 for trailers.
“The conflict has been solved, at least for now,” said Francisco Villaroman, CDC director and head of the agency’s subzone committee. The committee oversees the development in Clark’s Sacobia where the BCDA opened the river to quarrying activities in 1999 to quarry sand at no cost to government.
Villaroman, a retired police officer appointed by President Duterte to the CDC, said the committee decided to stop the collection of loading fees for “confidence-building” as Aeta groups were clearing leadership issues in their ranks.
“We had to intervene. There was a threat,” he said.
Mt. Pinatubo’s eruptions in 1991 dumped around 1 billion cubic meters of volcanic debris on Sacobia River, according to a study of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau.
In 1996, the CDC spent P72 million for rechanneling work and P52 million for the construction of dikes to save Expo Pilipino as well as Barangay Marcos and Macapagal, according to Ma. Zoraida Camello, CDC assistant vice president for administration. —Tonette Orejas
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