DECEMBER 11, 2019 — The minority bloc has asked the Senate look into the impending displacement of indigenous peope from their ancestral lands at the site 30th Southeast Asian Games in New Clark City in Tarlac, a legislator said.
On Monday, Senator Risa Hontiveros of Akbayan Party-list filed a resolution asking an investigation into an eviction order from the Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) to give way for an access road project linking New Clark City to Clark International Airport.
Hontiveros said it was ironic for the Philippines to include folk performances during the SEA Games opening ceremony on Nov. 30 with indigenous communities being displaced.
“Pinagmalaki natin ang mga katutubong kultura sa opening ng SEA Games 2019, pero tinatanggalan naman natin sila ng lupa at kabuhayan,” said Hontiveros in a Twitter post.
Hontiveros said the BCDA’s claims only show the difficulties the Aetas face in proving ownership to their ancestral land.
At least 500 affected families residing in Capas town, including the small Aeta community were only given a week to leave from their homes.
The BCDA said the property is owned by the government because it is located within the Clark Special Economic Zone.
The New Clark City is also one of the venues for the country’s hosting of the 30th SEA Games, including the closing ceremony set today, Wednesday.
In a statement, the BCDA has denied any “forcible demolition” in New Clark and said the eviction notice was a standard for those who rejected financial assistance from government.
“BCDA has always been in consultation with, and seeks the clearance of the Capas local government on these matters,” the agency said. “There are no declared ancestral domains or Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles in the area. Therefore, Aeta communities are not displaced.”
The BCDA said a financial assistance package of P300,000 per hectare or P30 per square meter was also made available for those affected by construction of the new green city. (Christian Deiparine/MM)