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Dumagats cry foul over accusations, seek help to uphold rule of law

The officers of the Dumagats in Antipolo during the press conference.

IN a press conference held yesterday, leaders of the Kaksaan Ne Dumaget De Antipolo, Inc., hit officials of the Masungi Georeserve headed by Benjamin Dumaliang, President of the Blue Star Construction and Development Corp. and operator of Masungi, for accusing them as land grabbers, squatters and illegal loggers who caused the flood in Marikina recently.

Were not for the help of Retired Gen. Luizo Ticman since the early 1990’s, we would have lost by force most of our ancestral homeland,” said tribal chieftain Ernesto Doroteo.

Enrico Vertudez, Kaksaan president; Alex Bendaña, chieftain; and the security guards of the Dumagats showed a map of their ancestral domain and the areas allegedly fenced off, which include their sacred grounds.

Tribal chieftain Ernesto Doroteo. Doroteo said the Dumagats and Ticman have long been partners and harmoniously working together to conserve and protect the environment of their homeland through livelihood projects since the 1990’s, and now, through the leadership and assistance of the latter’s daughter, LoiseTicman.

He said they formally approached Ticman last 2019 for more help in developing their land sustainably, which resulted in the project called Sustainable Integrated Development Plan (SIDP).

Gen. Ticman is a very kind and honorable man. We hope that there will be more like him in our society who treats us like his family, ” he said.

Through the media, we are seeking the help of President Duterte and the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) and DENR to uphold the rule of law. We, as the legal and real stakeholders, are culturally and legally-bound to preserve and conserve our ancestral domain,” said Doroteo, chairman of the Kaksaan.

Loise Ticman, Rublou’s CSR director and project director of the SIDP, explained that she has since replaced her father in the projects for the Dumagats. The SIDP focuses on sustainable livelihood projects, reforestation, and protection and conservation of the environment and the watershed. Then a police major in Rizal in the 1990’s, her father, she said, was sought for help by the Dumagats. Through the years, they became friends and allies against land grabbers, intruders and illegal activities in the area, she narrated.

The Dumagats have been issued their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) which defines the borders of their ancestral domain. Under the same law and RA 11038, or the National Integrated Protected Areas System (NIPAS), the Dumagats are given the authority to protect, preserve, and conserve the forest and the watershed within their ancestral domain, he said.