14 October 2013

SBMA, Aytas, NCIP sign joint management agreement on ancestral land

The Ayta community inside this Freeport has more reason to be joyous in celebrating the Indigenous People’s Month this October, as the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the joint management agreement (JMA) covering the use by investors of tribal lands inside this free port has been signed on Thursday, October 10.

The signing of the JMA coincided with the celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month, which was declared in 2009 for the purpose of heightening peoples’ awareness and participation in celebration and preservation of indigenous people’s communities.

The agreement is designed to safeguard the rights of the Ayta Ambala tribe over parts of their ancestral land inside Subic Bay Freeport, while recognizing the management mandate of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) over the free port zone.

The JMA-IRR was signed by SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia, tribal chieftain Conrado Frenilla of the Tribong Ayta Ambala sa Pastolan, and Region 3 director Ronaldo Daquioag of the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP).
The simple but historic ceremony was held at the SBMA Boardroom and witnessed by members of the Ayta tribal council, SBMA officials, and representatives of the NCIP.

Frenilla said that the JMA- IRR, which was written in Tagalog for easy understanding of the tribal members, will protect their rights and guarantee that all their benefits will be given the tribe for allowing investors in the Subic Bay Freeport to use their ancestral lands.

“Marami sa mga Ayta, lalo na iyong matatanda, ang naiyak dahil ngayon lamang magkakatotoo ang aming pangarap na magkaroon ng tunay na karapatan sa aming lupang ninuno,” Frenilla said.

The Aeta Ambala tribe of Subic Bay holds a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT), representing ownership of more than 4,280 hectares of land. This covers parts of the Kalayaan and Binictican housing areas, and the tourism areas of Apaliin, Pamulaklakin and El Kabayo.

In September 2011, the SBMA and the Ayta tribal council signed the JMA, which authorized the SBMA to provide systematic management and development of the ancestral land to help uplift the economic, cultural and social life of the tribe based on programs implemented by the government.

With the signing of the JMA, the Subic Ayta tribe will collect 5 per cent of the gross income paid by investors for lands within their ancestral domain that have been leased starting May 12, 2009 when the CADT was registered. Above this, each qualified Ayta family will receive P20,000 a year in livelihood assistance.

Other benefits include priority hiring of able Aeta workers, implementation of community development assistance programs, construction of clinic and schoolrooms for the community high school, and an annual donation of P100,000 to the Pastolan village every fiesta time and Christmas.

Meanwhile, NCIP’s Daquioag said that the success story of Ayta Ambala in pursuance of their rights over their ancestral land will be used as template for other indigenous tribes all over the country.

“Ang agreement na nilagdaan ng SBMA at Tribong Ayta Ambala sa Pastolan ay magsisilbing template o pagkokopyahan ng mga kasunduan na isasagawa ng iba pang tribong katutubo kaugnay sa paggamit ng kanilang lupang ninuno,” Daquioag said.

For his part, Chairman Garcia thanked the Subic Ayta community for their support and assistance in formulating the joint management agreement.

“Nagpapasalamat tayo dahil ang IRR na matagal nating inaasam ay tinanggap na ng ating mga kapatid na katutubo upang lalong lumaki ang kanilang pakinabang sa lupain at mapabilis ang pag-unlad ng kanilang kabuhayan,” Garcia said (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

SBMA Chairman Roberto Garcia signs a joint management agreement covering parts of the Ayta ancestral domain in the Subic Bay Freeport with Pastolan Ayta chieftain Conrado Frenilla (right) and NCIP Region 3 director Ronaldo Daquioag.