Investments in ancestral lands could displace ‘lumad’
DAVAO CITY—President Duterte on Thursday said he would personally invite investors to help develop ancestral domain areas in Mindanao.
Speaking before some 1,000 “lumad” leaders on the second day of the Mindanao-wide indigenous peoples (IP) leaders’ congress here, Mr. Duterte said he would work for the entry of investors to their areas, such as in the hinterlands of this city and in Andap Valley, Surigao del Sur.
“I will work for (it), I will choose the kind of investors (the areas need),” he said.
But Kerlan Fanagel, from the lumad group Pasaka Confederation, said the President’s plan to invite investors to their ancestral domain would result in massive displacements.
Corporations with investments in mining and plantations would occupy lumad lands, he said.
“This is a total sellout and for the good of corporations only. Where will the lumad go?” Fanagel said.
He said that under the Mining Act, mining firms would have total control of an area where minerals are extracted. “This means that the lumads would no longer be allowed in,” he said.
Mr. Duterte explained that the investments the tribal leaders had sought in the past only resulted in trouble among lumad communities in Mindanao.
“If there’s an enterprising lumad leader who would seek an investor, others would also lay claim to the land. If you continue with that attitude, nothing will happen,” he said. —FRINSTON LIM AND ALLAN NAWAL