Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Aetas air complaint about Hanjin Subic golf course project

Say they weren’t informed of request for survey of tribal land


SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — Members of the Aeta tribe in Bataan bewailed the lack of consultation on a proposed 36-hole golf course in their ancestral land at Pastolan Village.

In a resolution passed by Pastolan Village officials and sent to the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), members of the Aeta group complained that they were not informed of a request for land survey by the Hanjin Heavy Industries Co. (HHIC) in their ancestral domain in Barangay Tipo, Hermosa, Bataan.

They learned about the survey of the area after Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Feliciano G. Salonga and Administrator Armand C. Arreza signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with HHIC- Phils. President Jeong Sup Shim and HHIC-Phils. Managing Director Myung Goo Kwon.

However, Arreza assured that all considerations in connection with the golf course project are being evaluated and reviewed, and precautions are being taken.

"We want to make sure that the Pastolan Aetas will not be left empty-handed, in fact we want them to benefit the most from this endeavor. The construction of the golf course would certainly provide jobs, while preserving the natural beauty of the land," Arreza also said.

He added that an alternative area of 480 hectares in the Hermosa economic zone is ready to accommodate the golf course project if the first area be determined unsuitable.

Pastolan Village is in Mt. Sta. Rita, which is a part of a territory covered by the certificate of ancestral domain Title (CADT) that was granted to the Pastolan Aetas in June 2001.

CADT gave them ownership of the over 4,000 hectares of land a few kilometers from the Tipo toll road exit.

The award of a three-hectare parcel of land to each of the 160 Aeta families is part of the government’s program to protect and preserve the rights of the indigenous people. The remaining area will be preserved and developed with seedlings of narra, mahogany and mango had already been planted to a portion of the land.

SBMA Ecology Department Manager Amethya Dela Llana said any development project to be undertaken in the Subic Bay Freeport Zone has to undergo an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA). This determines the possible environmental and social impacts of the project as well as the corresponding mitigating measure.

Once the environmental impact statement (EIS) is issued, the process of consultation commences. The pros and cons of a proposed project are presented during the consultation.

"In the case of the Pastolan Village, which is covered by a CADT, any project that would be located in the CADT area is likewise required to secure a free prior and informed consent (FPIC) from the tribal community," Dela Llana said.


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