Logo: Solidarity South Pacific

Manobo gain certificate of ancestral domain

Some of you may have read about the Obo Manobo of Mount Apo in our last newsletter and on our website. We reported that they had set up groups to patrol their forests against loggers (protection volunteer groups) and also that they were applying to receive the title of their ancestral land.

Photo: The Manobo receiving their certificate of ancestral domain

Theoretically any indigenous group can be granted their land through the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). In reality of course it is not this easy.

Photo: Manobo children surround our Western worker

However, we have received news that the Manobo have been granted their CADT (Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title. A ceremony to this effect was held on 7 July and it has been described as 'a momentous event in their struggle for self determination'.

The Manobo are aware that this is not the answer to all their problems. In itself it will have no impact on the illegal logging of their land for example - only the PVGs can do this. Nor will it stop the possible expansion of the Philippine National Oil Corporations geo-thermal plant on their land as the government can over rule them on this.

The provisions of the IPRA, from which they benefit, apply only 'within the framework of national unity and development'!

However there is no doubt that this is very good news.

SSP is continuing to raise money to fund the PVGs having already sent some money towards equipment and training. All donations are gratefully received as ever. We must also be ready to take action if the geothermal plant expands and tribespeople are involved in resisting it. Watch this space...

Photo: Celebrations by The Manobo
Photo: Children dancing