Senate is Under Probe into Alleged Eviction of Aeta Group in New Clark City

Aeta Group Eviction in New Clark City is Under Investigation in Senate

Eviction of Aeta natives to their homes in Capas, Tarlac for the New Clark City project is being investigated in the Senate.

Image Source: Manila Bulletin

The Senate wants to investigate the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA )’s efforts to expel Aeta natives from their land in Capas, Tarlac to allegedly allow completion of the New Clark City project.

According to the article of Manila Bulletin, Senator Risa Hontiveros filed Senate Resolution No. 257 said it was necessary to investigate the reported BCDA’s issuance of eviction notice against the Aeta natives in order to leave their homes for seven days.

The notice was served in the middle of the festivities of the 2019 Southeast Asian (SEA) Games. The senator wants to know if indigenous peoples’ rights to their ancestral domain and livelihood are being violated.

“Development should not come at the expense of the rights and welfare of indigenous communities and of the environment. Hindi tunay ang pag-unlad kung may paglabag ito sa karapatan ng mga katutubo at ng kalikasan,” said Senator Hontiveros.

She said that indigenous communities are protected by Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s (IP) Rights Act. The BCDA said there was no ancestral domain in the area.

The lawmaker replied that it is not the fault of the natives that they have no documents of their ancestral lands. According to her, Aeta has applied several Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles for 18,000 hectares of land in Capas – in 1999, 2014 and 2019.

“The difficulty of obtaining official documents to prove ownership has impeded the capacity of our indigenous people to protect their lands. This is a failure of the bureaucracy and not of IP communities,” Hontiveros said.

Image Source: Local Government of Capas, Tarlac

Just last November 29, in the middle of the preparation for the Southeast Asian Games, the BCDA served a notice of eviction to residents. About 500 Aeta families in Barangay Aranguren faced eviction and were given seven days to evacuate their homes.

BCDA has offered to pay P300,000 per hectare or P30 per square meter of land to be affected by the eviction. But the lawmaker said giving financial compensation was not enough, saying it was essential “to understand that it is not just homes and livelihood that are being taken away from them.”

She also said that the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities needs to conduct an investigation, in aid of legislation, on the displacement of Aetas and other indigenous communities in areas covered by the NCC.

What can you say about this article? Just feel free to leave your reactions in the comment section.

For more news and updates, follow us on Twitter:@philnews_ph Facebook:@PhilNews and; YouTube channel Philnews Ph

Leave a Comment