BAGUIO CITY ― Would it be a repeat of injustice for the Carino clan where they are threatened to lose their Chuyo ancestral lands to “unscrupulous land claimants?”
The ancestral land claim of the descendants and heirs of Bayosa Ortega, Mateo Carino’s wife may be awarded to the Ikang Paus clan as the commissioners of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) deliberated on final reading the awarding a bulk of the said ancestral land to the Paus clan.
On the implication of the deliberation en-banc of the NCIP commissioners last week on the Paus claim, one legal expert said, “This is an abuse of discretion, unfair and uncalled for. This is a concrete and classic case that advocates of indigenous peoples rights can take to the international arena as an example of how our government violates indigenous peoples land rights. While they boast of an indigenous peoples rights act they actually use it to break and abuse indigenous peoples communities and not to advance the respect for human rights.”
While the Paus claim was presented for the third and final reading at the NCIP commissioners en banc meeting, it still has to be put into a resolution approved by them before it can be said to be final, said Director Amador Batay-an of the NCIP regional office here.
It would be final only if the deliberation is contained in a resolution only after hearing any protests against the said resolution, he said.
Ancestral land in question
The subject ancestral land is a part of the 329 hectare claim filed by the descendants on the basis of a 1920 approved plan of ancestor Bayosa Ortega, wife of Mateo Cariño. The perfection of its documentation only became a necessity when government proclamations for watershed, forest and a government animal stock farm were made over the different parts of the Ortega estancia after WWII. The land used to be the pasture, watering area and holding ranch for herds of carabaos, pigs and cows before the second world war under the care-takership of Bayosa’s youngest daughter Kenjia.
Nordis learned that Bayosa’s heirs formally filed for recognition in 1991 under the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR-CAR) special order 31 and department administrative order 02 facilitated by its Special Task Force on Ancestral Land (STFAL). A year after, the said task force said: “the subject application has satisfied the requirements for a valid ancestral land claim.”
In the advent of Republic Act 8371 otherwise known as the Indigenous people’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, the ancestral land claims recognized and favorably recommended by the STFAL are to be facilitated to the NCIP for the issuance of Certificate of Ancestral Land Tiles (CALT), a legal expert pointed out.
The Bayosa heirs followed the step by step completion of the IPRA requirements in 2004. Based on a work order released by the NCIP central office, they had a perimeter survey on November 14, 2008 conducted by the NCIP engineer in the presence of the representatives of the Department of Agriculture and Bureau of Animal Industry.
“We thought that this survey was bringing us closer to our goal of having our ancestral land recognized. Little did we know that some magic was happening in the NCIP national office,” explained Judy Cariño, an heir of Bayosa in an earlier interview.
Despite their application done much earlier, the descendants of Bayosa questioned the NCIP endorsement of the Paus claim, which covers 67 hectares of the Bayosa heirs’ claim.
In November last year, Cariñno said that the Paus claim was endorsed by NCIP Baguio head Gladys Lasdacan, Cordillera office Director Batay-an, and Ancestral Domains Officer Myrna Caoagas.
“We are afraid that the IPRA, which is supposed to uphold the rights of indigenous peoples, is being perverted by unscrupulous people, in order to acquire choice lands in Baguio City and have it titled in their names,”
We demand due process from NCIP. Careful scrutiny of the Cariñno and Paus documents will reveal who has rightful claim to the land in question.” Carino added. # Arthur L. Allad-iw