BUTUAN CITY, March 26, 2018 — Presidential Peace Adviser Jesus Dureza today urged concerned government agencies to work closely together and address issues related to the approved Certificates of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) within the CARAGA Region.
The move was Dureza’s immediate response to a resolution submitted by delegates to the Indigenous People’s Summit held here today requesting the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process (OPAPP) to provide technical assistance to the six ethnolinguistic tribes in the area.
Dureza said that although these CADTs have already been approved by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), they have been held for some time pending registration by the Land Registration Administration (LRA).
CADTs are issued by the NCIP pursuant to the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) Law or RA 8371 which recognizes the native titles of indigenous peoples over their lands and domain.
During the summit, Dureza called on the representatives of the NCIP, LRA, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and Department Agrarian Reform (DAR) to come forward and asked them to manifest their commitment to resolve all CADT-related concerns, utilizing the resources of their respective agencies for the purpose.
“There has to be a convergence of efforts. This has been the directive of President Rodrigo Duterte,” the peace adviser said as he addressed more than 400 Lumad delegates from across the region who attended the summit to discuss pressing concerns confronting them, particularly with their ancestral domain claims.
In the meantime, Dureza pointed out that the identity of the region’s IPs make them distinct as a people and therefore should be respected by all.
“It is wrong for us to say that we need to ‘convert’ the Lumads [to our ways]. We need to preserve their traditional way of doing things,” he said.
Dureza cited the traditional methods that Lumads have utilized over the years to effectively resolve situations of conflict in their communities.
The country’s top peace negotiator called on the region’s IPs to play a more active role in peace-building, asking them not to rely solely on the government or the military to address the peace and security situation in their area.
He said this mindset will be crucial as he revealed that almost 70 percent of the fighters that were recruited by rebel groups are Lumads.
“You have now awakened. You can do something for yourselves,” he said.
Dureza also emphasized the need for the region’s Lumads to “take ownership” of the peace and development projects being implemented in their communities.
“The proposals should come from the tribes. You (Lumads) should therefore find a way to develop and protect these projects,” he said.
In a separate interview with members of the media, Secretary Dureza underscored the importance of engaging IPs in the development process.
“It is very important to engage them (Lumads) so that we tell them what government plans and what it is doing. But more importantly, to listen what they have to say to government,” he said.
Dureza pointed out that the people and the local government officials “should not wait until someone like me from Manila will come in tell them [what to do].”
“There must be continuity to [enable] work on the ground,” he said.
Dureza stressed that Lumads need more understanding and more capacity-building.
“I call on the concerned agencies to continue what they’re doing and resonate all of these messages,” he said.
The two-day IP Summit was organized by the CARAGA Regional Peace and Order Council, Department of the Interior and Local Government, Provincial Government of CARAGA, and the City Government of Butuan. ###