NCIP denies IPO’s application for 80K-hectare ancestral domain claim in Caraga  

SURIGAO CITY (MindaNews/27 November) – Citing insufficient factual, legal and historical bases, the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) en banc denied the application for a certificate of ancestral domain title of what it said was a dubious indigenous people’s organization (IPO) in Caraga.

A three-page document obtained by MindaNews Friday afternoon from the NCIP-Surigao del Norte Office showed the commission en banc’s Resolution 07-15-2016 affirming the denial of the application of Kahugpungan Sa Nagkahiusang Tribu Nga Manununod Sa Yutang Kabilin (KANTRIMYUKA) over 80,000 hectares of land, including coastal areas and bodies of water, encompassing the municipality of Carrascal, Surigao del Sur and several towns in Surigao del Norte such as Claver, Gigaquit, Bacuag, Placer, Tubod, Mainit, Sison, and Tagana-an; portion of Surigao City including Nonoc Island; and portion of Dinagat Island of the province of Dinagat Islands.

Aside from junking the application of KANTRIMYUKA, the NCIP en banc also revoked the certifications and letters issued by the late commissioner, Atty. Roque Agton to several mining companies in Surigao del Norte and Dinagat backing up the claim of KANTRIMYUKA for lack of authority from the Commission en banc.

“The members or Ancestral Domain claimants of KANTRIMYUKA are also the same claimants and beneficiaries in another titled Ancestral Domain in Surigao del Sur known as Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) -002 and also in the application for Ancestral Domain title of FADTRICOM in another area in Surigao del Sur, which was earlier denied by NCIP Surigao del Sur,” the Resolution dated May 13, 2016 said.

The provincial office here received a copy of the resolution only on October 10, 2016.

The Resolution said there is neither evidence of established settlements nor presence of Manobo communities in the past and as well as present in any of the areas claimed as ancestral domain by KANTRIMYUKA.

“The established traditional boundary between Manobo tribe and the neighboring Mamanwa tribe is Kinalablaban, a river near the area or political boundary separating Surigao del Sur from Surigao del Norte. This fact was affirmed by the closest Manobo communities to the Mamanwa tribe and validated in the creation of CADT-048 Claim book. The concerned Local Government Units had also denied the any existence of Manobo in their area of jurisdiction through official resolutions submitted by their respective legislative councils,” the Resolution said.

The Resolution stressed that historical accounts and genealogical charts of KANTRIMYUKA in its application for CADT and by the same clan members of KATRIMYUKA in CADT-002 and that in FADTRICOM’s CADT application, all pointed to a common ancestor but showed irreconcilable inconsistency in the alleged place of birth of their common ancestor and in the reason for their displacement from the place where their early ancestor allegedly originated.

“The glaring inconsistencies in the documents submitted (by their own admission of application) vis-à-vis the established NCIP records, CADT-048 and CADT-002 Claim book as well as previous field-based investigation reports which all indicated that the application is dubious and full of false statements and assertions which could not be substantiated. It is concluded that there is no factual, historical and legal bases in KANTRIMYUKA Ancestral Domain claim,” the resolution said.

The resolution was penned by Leonor T. Oralde-Quintayo, chair of the NCIP and signed by all seven commissioners.

KANTRIMYUKA held a month-long barricade against Adnama Mining Resources Inc., (AMRI) a mining company operating in Urbiztondo Claver town in Surigao del Norte from September 2 to October 5, 2013 demanding a one per cent royalty share from 2001 to 2013, equivalent to 30 million pesos.

The barricade was led by Samuel D. Sumanda alias “Datu Mansa,” along with Datu Romel Dawog, a barangay captain of Pakwan in Lanuza town in Surigao del Sur, and Datu Cesar Bat-ao. They were joined by some 700 Manobos from Pakwan, Lanuza Surigao del Sur all belonging to KANTRIMYUKA. 

The blockade paralyzed the operations of the mining firm.

The group expected to get royalties because aside from letters from the late NCIP commissioner Agton, they also had documents mostly demand letters for AMRI with endorsements from Surigao City Mayor Ernesto Matugas in favor of KANTRIMYUKA.

The Mamanwa tribe in Surigao del Norte lauded the issuance of the NCIP resolution as it affirms that KANTRIMYUKa has no jurisdiction in areas covered by CADT 048. 

The Mamanwas hold CADT 048, which covers 48,870 hectares, comprising five towns in Surigao del Norte — Claver, Gigaquit, Bacuag, Tubod and Alegria including a portion of Kitcharao town in Agusan del Norte. The Mamanwas got their CADT on September 22, 2006.

“I’m not surprised with this resolution and I’m happy with it because it proves that we own it,” Datu Emiliano Gedi, head claimant of CADT 048, told MindaNews. (Roel N. Catoto / MindaNews)