Resorts seek review of ancestral domain law


Resort owners in Palawan have called on the government to review the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), because certain provisions hampered the full development of the tourism industry in some areas of the country.

Orlando Sacay, leader of the Northern Palawan Tourism Investors Council, said some tribal groups were being used to snag tourism development projects in such areas as Palawan and Boracay in Aklan.

“Certain provisions of the IPRA are abused by some indigenous peoples,” Sacay said.

Disputes arise when the indigenous people claim portions of the land being developed into a tourism area. Their claim is usually based on a Certificate of Ancestral Domain (CADT) title issued by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Before a CADT can be issued, it goes through a legal process, but some groups used it to harass resort owners. Even if a CADT has been issued to a group, it can still be challenged at the higher courts.

Sacay, who is former official of the Department of Agriculture, said resort owners in Coron and Busuanga in Palawan suspended construction of various projects because of problems caused by groups from certain tribes.

“Their problems began when small groups claiming to be indigenous people claimed ownership of the land by applying for certificate of ancestral domain titles,” Sacay said.

He cited as an example the Tagbanua Tribe of Coron island that claimed the entire barangay of Bulalacao as part of their ancestral domain and has applied for an ancestral domain title, throwing a monkey wrench on development plans of investors in the area.

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