14 January 2010
The Office of the President, represented by Ms. Lorelei Fajardo, Presidential Assistant for Central Luzon, together with the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) headed by Atty. Eugenio Insigne and Gov. Amor Deloso of Botolan, Zambales in partnership with the Project Development Institute (PDI), will award a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to 1,501 Aeta families in Botolan, Zambales on January 14.
The CADT-068 comes after the Aetas' hard-fought struggle that began after the Mount Pinatubo's eruption in 1991. It was a product of the conversion process from Certificate of Ancestral Domain Certificate (CADC) given through the Administrative Order 2 of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). The CADT is a land title that recognizes the right and ownership of the Aetas to their ancestral domain.
The approved and declared land area of 15,860 hectares covers the 4 barangays of Villar, Burgos, Moraza and Belbel in Botolan, Zambales. All encumbrances on the title have been eliminated and all other claims to the ancestral domain have been segregated and settled. Survey work for the CADT commenced following its approval for processing in 2004 by the NCIP. The process entailed a series of consultations involving the indigenous community members and the concerned provincial and national government agencies with assistance from the PDI.
The Project Development Institute is a non-government organization that supports the Aetas' relocation and rehabilitation since their displacement from Mount Pinatubo in June 1991 and their pursuit of their ancestral domain.
Aurea Miclat-Teves, PDI Executive Director, said “…we would continue to support the sustainable development of their livelihoods in their communities and fight for their rights in order for them to achieve their dream of a better life.”
According to Carlito Domulot, chairman of BUKAL (Bukluran ng mga Katutubo sa Luzon) [a federation of Ayta communities], and representative of the Botolan Aetas, “The CADT is a dream come true. The CADT is a realization of our dream and an acknowledgement of our victory in our struggle for self-determination and self-governance as recognized by the 1997 Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA).” Carling Domulot states that the Aetas will develop the ancestral domain through sustainable agriculture, diversified farming and agroforestry. He said they will replant rare species of trees and medicinal plants that they have retrieved and stored in the nurseries to rebuild biodiversity in Mount Pinatubo.