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Aetas in Pampanga awarded first clean title of ancestral domain

05/27/2009 | 01:56 PM

MANILA, Philippines — Some 454 Aeta families in Pampanga are now the owners of a
Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to 7,440.10 hectares of land around Mount
Pinatubo.

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo awarded the title on Wednesday in Floridablanca,


Pampanga, together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) in partnership
with the Project Development Institute (PDI).

The CADT No. RO3-FLO-1206-057 for the Aetas’ ancestral land comes 12 years after the
establishment of the NCIP.

NCIP Region III Director Salong Sunggod said it is the first clean title distributed by the
commission.

“All encumbrances on the title have been eliminated and all other claims to the ancestral domain
have been segregated and settled. The 454 Aeta families who will benefit will not face any
counterclaims after the title is issued to them," he explained.

PDI Executive Director Aurea Miclat-Teves said the approved and declared net land area of
7,440.10 hectares cover the barangays of Mawakat and Nabuklod in Floridablanca, Pampanga,
plus a portion of of San Marcelino, Zambales, and a portion of Barangay Batiawan in Subic,
Zambales.

Survey work for the CADT started following its approval for processing in December 2006 by
the NCIP.

The Project Development Institute, an NGO that has been helping landless farmers and Aeta
communities displaced by the 1991 Mount Pinatubo eruption, has been extending full assistance
to the Aetas as they underwent the process of securing their entitlement to their ancestral domain.

“Aside from their oral tradition, their actual labor on the land is the enduring proof of the Aetas’
claim over their ancestral domain," said Teves in a press statement. “After acquiring their full
rights to their land, the challenge facing the Aetas now is to develop and fully utilize it."

For the Aetas land is the root of their identity and the source of their livelihood. “For them land
is life," she added.

The Aetas appreciate the conventional concept of legitimate ownership, which a land title
represents. They believe that the most important function of land titles is in providing them
security and protection. The recognition of the Floridablanca Aetas’ ancestral domain is a major
achievement for indigenous Filipinos. - GMANews.TV