Quantcast
Latest Stories

No ‘Agta’ OK for Umiray bridge

By

LUCENA CITY—A leader of the Agta tribe in the Sierra Madres in northern Quezon on Monday said the construction of a bridge that would link the province to Aurora had no permit from his community.

The Agta leader, Ramcy Astoveza, who is executive director of Tribal Center for Development Foundation Inc. (TCDFI), questioned the failure of the proponents of the 358-meter, P468-million Umiray Bridge to secure approval from the Agta.

A project of the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica), the bridge will be built over the Umiray River to link Umiray village in General Nakar town in Quezon to Umiray village in Dingalan town in Aurora.

The DAR in Quezon on Monday denied Astoveza’s claim that the project had no approval from the indigenous peoples of the area.

Arlene Villanueva, the DAR’s information officer in Quezon, said the proponents consulted the indigenous peoples and won approval from the majority.

The proponents broke ground on Jan. 23 to start the construction of the bridge, which would be finished by June next year.

The DAR said the bridge would allow farmers and traders on both sides of the river to transport their goods with ease, spurring rural development, easing poverty and ensuring food security.

Danger to Sierra Madre

While supportive of the project, Astoveza said the Agta feared the bridge would hasten the destruction of the Sierra Madre mountain range in Quezon and Aurora provinces, which are already being undermined by illegal logging and mining.

Astoveza called on President Aquino to compel the proponents of the bridge to get a permit from the indigenous peoples in the area before proceeding with the project.

Under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997, all plans, programs, projects or activities that may affect ancestral lands must have the “free and prior informed consent” of the tribes living in the area.

Astoveza said going through the process would ensure the recognition of the rights of the indigenous people.

 

Bypassed?

In a text message to the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday, Fr. Pete Montallana, former head of the Save Sierra Madre Network Alliance, said “the government has again trampled on the rights of the indigenous people” by bypassing the Agta-Dumagat community in Quezon when it planned the project.

Astoveza said the Sierra Madre tribesmen were surprised at the groundbreaking for the project last week as they were never consulted about it.

“We should be part of the planning because the project lies inside our certificates of ancestral domain,” he said.

But the DAR’s Villanueva said the project could not have pushed through if it had no approval from the indigenous peoples of the area.

The DAR, the local governments, and the other proponents had extensive consultations with residents and the indigenous peoples, she said.

Not opposed

Astoveza said the Sierra Madre tribesmen were not opposed to the project, as it would not only connect Aurora and Quezon but also Central Luzon and Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon).

“The bridge will bring benefits to all but it should have our [approval] because that is what the law [requires],” he said.

Jerry Pacturan, agrarian reform undersecretary for support services, said in a statement issued last week that the project was the culmination of three-year consultation and planning conferences among national and local government agencies in partnership with Jica.

Jica shoulders the bulk of the project’s cost of P368 million.

Astoveza said the Agta tribal council would call an emergency meeting to discuss the project and what action the tribe would take.

He said the tribe would also bring the issue to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.


Follow Us


Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter


Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: agrarian reform , Agta Tribe , Bridges , Calabarzon , DAR , Foreign aid , Global Nation , Government , indigenous peoples , Infrastructures , Japan , Jica , Southern Luzon , Umiray Bridge

  • KenKhoy

    jica?   th community beware

  • mon key

    that bridge is needed. that is very clear. the bridge will make areas accessible to much needed services, and uplift the way of life of residents. the issue that is being raised by the tribal council is a non-issue. their rights are not being trampled on as they want others to believe. if they are concerned about the rise of illegal activities in the area because of the bridge, then the tribal council should come up with proposed solutions on how to STOP those illegal activities, NOT the construction of the bridge! 

  • salomeahmad

    Kita na ninyo gaano hirap sa pera PH, pati basic public infrastructure like a barangay bridge foreign funding pa, e ano pa kaya  kung AFP modernizarion, kundi puro drawing.



Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
Advertisement
Advertisement

News

  • Enrile chief aide back in PH ‘to face charges’–report
  • Pakistan library named ‘bin Laden,’ as memory fades
  • US teacher fired over comment on black president
  • Magnitude-7.5 earthquake shakes Mexican capital
  • Title of new Hillary Clinton book: ‘Hard Choices’
  • Sports

  • Motivated LeBron James preps for postseason
  • Nadal ousted by Ferrer in Monte Carlo quarters
  • Pacquiao shorts in Bradley fight sold for P1.7M in LA auction
  • Ryu pitches Dodgers past Giants
  • Alonso sets the pace in Chinese GP practice
  • Lifestyle

  • Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Nobel laureate, dies at 87
  • Ford Mustang turns 50 atop Empire State Building
  • Pro visual artists, lensmen to judge Pagcor’s photo contest
  • ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  • Entertainment

  • Myx TV premieres Asian American ‘docu-series’
  • A nutty finale for ‘Scandal,’ TV’s craziest show
  • EXO postpones release of mini album ‘Overdose’
  • ‘X-men’ filmmaker slams ‘fabricated’ sex attack claims
  • Singer Chris Brown’s bodyguard on trial in DC
  • Business

  • US commerce secretary spells out economic facet of ‘pivot to Asia’
  • Italy sells luxury state cars on eBay
  • Asian shares mostly up in quiet trade
  • Dollar up in Asia on US jobs data, Ukraine deal
  • Barbie doll has a problem
  • Technology

  • Nasa’s moon-orbiting robot crashes down
  • Netizens pay respects to Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  • Nokia recalls 30,000 chargers for Lumia 2520 tablet
  • Facebook rolls out ‘nearby friends’ feature
  • Netizens seethe over Aquino’s ‘sacrifice’ message
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 17, 2014
  • A humbler Church
  • Deepest darkness
  • ‘Agnihotra’ for Earth’s health
  • It’s the Holy Week, time to think of others
  • Global Nation

  • Multicultural flock marks Good Friday in San Francisco
  • Las Vegas ‘Pinoy Pride’ fest hails Filipino heritage
  • Marking Jesus’ journey on Good Friday
  • Filipina accomplice arrested for fake bills in Malaysia
  • DoH denies Filipino nurse no longer positive for MERS virus
  • Marketplace