PUERTO GALERA, Oriental Mindoro—Mangyan representatives walked out on a meeting called by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples after refusing to sign a resolution endorsing the P66-million dump project that they said would encroach on their ancestral land.
“The proposed Categorized Waste Disposal Facility/Sanitary Landfill Project will displace us and contaminate the purity of the nearby source of springwater (bukal) flowing into the Tamaraw Falls,” said Ciriaco Bibo, who led the tribesmen belonging to the Iraya Mangyan subtribe.
But NCIP Provincial Officer Karen Ignacio reportedly gave the Mangyans until the end of the month to sign the resolution agreeing to relocate to another area, far from the proposed municipal dump and landfill project.
Should the deadline lapse, the Mangyans would be evicted from the village.
The project will be on a 10-hectate public land owned by the Puerto Galera municipal government, in upper sitio Lapantay, Bgy. Villaflor. The village is home to 47 Iraya Mangyan families who have been living there for more than 40 years.
The municipal resolution that the Iraya Mangyans refused to sign says they endorse the sanitary landfill and waste disposal project and agree to a relocation site far from their village.
“Yan po ang dahilan kung bakit kami umalis sa pinatawag na miting ng NCIP. Pinipilit kami pumirma sa hindi namin kagustuhan (This is the reason we walked out. We were being told to sign something we don’t agree to),” Bibo explained.
He added that the proposed dump project will adversely affect their livelihood derived from agriculture, the Tamaraw Falls, the community, and their two-year old two-classroom school buildings where 50 Mangyan children use in their elementary education.
The Mangyan leader stressed that the NCIP must respect and honor Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Act of 1997 which “recognizes our ancestral land rights.”