CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The coronavirus pandemic and multiple claimants of a contested land in Quezon town, Bukidnon have caused the delay in the issuance of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), an official of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in Northern Mindanao (NCIP-10) said.
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The 995-hectare land in Kiantig, Barangay Butong in Quezon is the center of struggle of hundreds of families belonging to the Manobo-Pulangihon tribe who were evicted from the area that they have claimed to be their ancestral domain by a private company in 2017.
Since then, the displaced tribal members have set up shanties on the side of the road in Kiantig Butong living in abject poverty as they barely have access to clean running water and toilet facilities.
Government authorities said the tribe can only return to the area if they already have the CADT that would make them the rightful owner of the land.
Reymond Pimentel, head of the NCIP office in Bukidnon, said the tribe has submitted all the requirements to legitimize their claim to their ancestral domain and the eventual issuance of the CADT.
But Pimentel said that aside from the health crisis, the other factor that has caused the delay in the processing of the petitioners’ CADT is the fact that there are actually four groups who have separately applied for the title.
He said this has slowed down the processing as the NCIP central office cannot issue a CADT to a land that has multiple claimants.
Although the NICP is trying its best to issue the CADT, Pimentel said the different petitioners in the same area have hampered the fast processing of the issuance.
“This needs to be resolved first before our head office can issue the CADT,” he added.
Pimentel has noted, however, that the different claimants are actually just related to each other and there are no conflict or violence involved.
He said the NCIP will meet with all the claimants next week to resolve the issue so that only one petitioner will be recognized by the agency.
“If we can establish that there is only one claimant, then the NCIP en banc can already begin deliberating the petition for CADT,” he said.
Pimentel added that it is his hope that the CADT will be released to the petitioners before the end of the year.