Friday, August 10, 2012

Aetas own Pinatubo
In January 2010, the Aetas were awarded a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) covering the entire Mount Pinatubo including the 3-kilometer wide crater lake after being driven out from the expanse by the angry volcano two decades ago. The total area granted is 15, 984 hectares which is being shared by the four aeta tribes composed of 7,000 aeta families. The said title includes the towns of Burgos, Villar, Moraza and Belbel in Botolan and portions of Cabangan, San Felipe and San Marcelino, all in Zambales. Pinatubo is said to be rich in white gold, nickel and chromate. The aetas previously had to deal with miners, loggers and even tour operators who earn from Pinatubo without compensating the said indigenous tribesmen. According to the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, ancestral domains are lands and natural resources occupied or possessed continuously by indigenous communities in accordance with their customs and traditions since time immemorial. A CADT is a title formally recognizing the rights of possession and ownership of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples over their ancestral domains identified and delineated in accordance with the IPRA of 1997. The Aetas were able to establish that they have been living at Mt Pinatubo since pre-Hispanic times. Consequently, they now have the lawful right to communally possess and enjoy the vast region and its resources to the exclusion of others.

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