Senate urged to probe displacement of Aeta communities by New Clark City

Senate urged to probe displacement of Aeta communities by New Clark City
Aeta residents participate in the counter-mapping activity of the Department of Geography of the University of the Philippines.
Philstar.com / Efigenio Toledo IV

MANILA, Philippines — The Senate should investigate the displacement of indigenous peoples communities in Tarlac to give way to the completion of New Clark City, Sen. Risa Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros filed Resolution 257 urging the Senate committee on cultural communities led by Sen. Imee Marcos to conduct a legislative inquiry into the displacement of Aeta communities in areas covered by the New Clark City Development Project.

“There is a need to ensure the protection of Aetas and other indigenous communities from unjust expulsion from a land that has served as their home and have tilled since time immemorial,” the opposition lawmaker said.

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Casamira Maniego, head of the Asosasyon ng Katutubong Mahawang, earlier told Philstar.com that around 500 families in Capas, Tarlac would be displaced with nowhere to go.

Maniego was among those who received a seven-day notice from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority last week.

BCDA said the notice was a follow-up letter sent to all claimants who rejected the financial assistance offered by the government to inform them that the construction of the New Clark City to Clark International Airport access road needs to start in that particular area.

The agency said it offered to pay P300,000 per hectare and relocation sites to all project-affected people.

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BCDA maintained the sprawling metropolis project would not displace Aeta communities as there are no certificates of ancestral domains in the area.

“The BCDA’s claim of an absence of CADTs obscures a most egregious fact, that of the enormous difficulties IP communities face in securing official documents to prove their ownership of their ancestral land,” Hontiveros said.

New Clark City spans 9,450 hectares within the Clark Special Economic Zone. It is envisioned to be the first smart and green city in the country. — Gaea Katreena Cabico

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