Everyone was quite distracted with Alan Peter Cayetano’s shiny trophy. While our government gave themselves the award for Best SEA Games Organizer, remaining Aeta communities struggle to keep their ancestral lands. All thanks to the government land owned New Clark City.
On Dec. 3, Sandugo – Movement of Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self-Determination posted the eviction letter received by Aeta communities inhabiting Capas, Tarlac. They were given a seven-day eviction notice starting last Dec. 2. In the letter, they said their displacement is for “the greater good.” The greater good in question meaning an industrial city out of indigenous people’s ancestral lands.
Here lies the true legacy of Best SEA Games Organizers. A new modern city built from the bones of our ancestors and indigenous peoples.
In this one eviction notice, we see where our government’s priorities lie. And it’s not to strengthen communities and preserve our own culture.
Take a look at how they exploited Apo Whang Od’s mambabatok lineage, building Kaliwa Dam on indigenous lands without the community’s consent, and more recently, being proud of indigenous culture during SEA Games, while displacing ancestral Aeta lands. Championing indigenous peoples is only convenient if they can profit from it.
Land developers The Bases Conversion and Development authority claims this project will benefit all stakeholders involved. “Financial assistance packages amounting to P300,000 per hectare (or P30 per square meter), have also been made available to all project-affected people, including IPs/farmers,” writes Sun Star Pampanga last July.
We are at the end of the year. So far, the only thing they’ve received is an eviction notice for the so-called great good. Its developers claim sustainability and inclusivity are their main priorities. But no community has benefited from their words just yet.
Photo from Inquirer.net