PUERTO GALERA, Oriental Mindoro—Iraya Mangyans in this town obtained a reprieve from the municipal government after Mayor Hubbert Christopher Dolor deferred their eviction because of lack of preparation.
The 47 Mangyan families had been given a deadline of April 30 to leave their homes in the 10.4-hectare highland village of upper Sitio Lapantay, Bgy. Villaflor to give way to the construction of a P66-million Categorized Waste Disposal Facility/Landfill Project.
The tribesmen had protested the project, walking out on a meeting called by National Commission on Indigenous Peoples provincial director Karen Ignacio on April 15. They refused to sign Resolution Blg. 01-2015 prepared by the NCIP agreeing to accept benefits from the Puerto Galera local government and their eventual relocation.
The local government had announced that it would relocate the Mangyans beginning today (May 1) but it was not able to adequately prepare for the transfer.
The plan remains, however. “When everything is ready, we will implement their relocation,” Dolor told The Standard.
According to Bibo, there are four reasons why they do not want to leave Sitio Lapantay. “It is our ancestral land, it will contaminate the purity of the scenic 423-foot Tamaraw Falls, the source of our drinking water, the source of their livelihood based on agriculture, and the presence of two school buildings being used by 50 Mangyan pupils.”
Mayor Dolor also clarified earlier reports that his administration was evicting. He was only relocating them to another site. “There is a big difference between the words eviction and relocation.”
Dolor also explained that the putting up of the waste disposal project was the wish of the majority of Puerto Galera population “since Puerto Galera is a booming tourist town that waste disposal is a big problem.”