CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The land conflict involving the Manobo-Pulangiyon that got presidential candidate Leody de Guzman and his party entangled two weeks ago has won support from the national government.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has ordered a company to stop its operations in a land part of lumads ancestral domain in Quezon town, Bukidnon.
The cease and desist order (CDO) was served to the Kianteg Development Corporation (KDC), according to NCIP chair Allen Capuyan, in his Facebook post Saturday, April 30. He also posted a copy of the order which was received by one of KDC’s security personnel.
“This resolves the Petition for the Issuance of a CDO filed by the Manobo-Pulangiyon Indigenous Cultural Community/Indigenous Peoples praying for an order enjoining the operators and owners of the KDC, all persons claiming rights under it, and all illegal occupants of the Manobo-Pulangiyon ancestral domain located in the Municipality of Quezon, Province of Bukidnon in view of the expiration of the FLGMA 122 and the absence of the Free and Prior Informed Consent from the recipients of the ancestral domain,” reads the first page of the CDO.
The illegally occupied property is part of the 1,111-hectare land located at the villages of Butong and San Jose, which the Manobo-Pulangiyon tribe claimed as their ancestral domain.
In response to an online inquiry, Leonardo Montemayor, chair of the Federation of Free Farmers and former Agriculture secretary, said the CDO issued by Capuyan will be instrumental in the return of the displaced tribe to their ancestral home.
“Hopefully, this development will pave the way for the early repossession by the Manobo-Pulangiyons of their land,” he said.
Since 2017, about a thousand families belonging to the Manobo-Pulangiyon tribe were driven away by KDC. They have been living in makeshift shelters beside the national highway in Quezon, just a few meters from their ancestral land.
In 1986, an entity called Cesar Fortich Inc. was able to secure a 25-year Forest Land Graze Management Agreement (FLGMA) from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources which expired in 2018.
Sometime in 2007, Cesar Fortich Inc. changed its name to KDC and reportedly appointed Pablo Lorenzo III, Quezon’s incumbent municipal mayor, as its general manager.
In a previous interview, Arnel Angcosin, secretary-general of the Kianteg Manobo-Pulangiyon Tribal Association, said they were driven out from their land by KDC’s armed security personnel in 2017, a year before the FLGMA was set to expire.
Last April 19, some of the tribe’s members entered the contested land together with presidential candidate Leodegario “Ka Leody” de Guzman and senatorial aspirants Roy Cabonegro and David D’Angelo when armed men fired shots in their direction, wounding five persons. (davaotoday.com)