Kilanglad PAMB rejects unified ancestral domain claim

In its meeting Tuesday, the Protected Area Management Board of Mt. Kitanglad passed a resolution endorsing the application for a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title for the Daraghuyan Ancestral Domain of the Bukidnon tribe inhabiting the mountain range’s buffer zone here.

In approving the resolution, the PAMB noted that most tribal groups in Mt. Kitanglad favor individual claims based on the specific territories of each tribe. The board said it based its decision on the outcome of a conference here last Aug. 9 attended by all  claimants as well as on the request of the Bukidnon tribe to be excluded from the unified claim.

The endorsement has effectively dashed hopes of the Talaandig tribe in barangay Songco, Lantapan town to have the whole protected area claimed as a single ancestral domain.

Aside from the Bukidnon tribe in Malaybalay, at least 12 other groups in Mt. Kitanglad have applied for CADT.

In 1995, Datu Migketay Victorino Saway of the Talaandig tribe sought to consolidate the claims into a single application. Some tribal leaders agreed with his idea and in 1997 they appointed him as head claimant.

Saway was later appointed to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples. But the unified claim never prospered prompting the other tribal leaders of Mt. Kitanglad to revert to their separate claims.

The Daraghuyan community was the first group to revert to their individual application which they had waived in favor of the unified claim.

Saway opposed Daraghuyan’s application, saying it violates the earlier agreement to file a single claim for all tribes. But his brother Datu Makapukaw Adolino Saway, chieftain of the Talaandig tribe and head of the Kitanglad Council of Elders, is supporting the Daraghuyan claim.

The disagreement between Datu Migketay and the other tribal leaders obliged the NCIP to hold a clarificatory conference last Aug. 9.

During the conference the Daraghuyan claimants said it would be unfair to stall their claim now that they are almost through processing it. They explained they could not possibly sacrifice the future of their application by depending on the unified claim which they said has not made any progress since its filing 11 years ago.

Datu Migketay’s group refused to concede and even warned to bring the issue to the President’s attention. Commissioner Reuben Dasay Lingating advised, however, that the question was better resolved in his presence since the chief executive would refer to the NCIP just the same.

Recently, in a letter written in Binukid (ethnic language) addressed to the NCIP several tribal leaders in Mt. Kitanglad declared:  “We are saddened that the Daraghuyan community and majority of the tribal communities in Mt. Kitanglad could not continue processing their claims owing to the opposition of a single tribal leader. We are dismayed that his views and his views alone should take precedence over that of the majority in deciding the fate of ancestral domain claims in Mt. Kitanglad. We believe that nobody has a monopoly of wisdom and of how culture should be viewed.”

“More than enough time has been given to the unified claim. Given its failure, we may be justified in going back to our individual claims to obtain tenurial security over our ancestral homeland…We therefore appeal to the NCIP to listen to the majority whose only dream is to be secure in their own territory. The NCIP should listen to the voice of reason not the dictate of one person. It can start by allowing the Daraghuyan claim to finish what it has started,” the letter continued. (H. Marcos C. Mordeno/MindaNews)