MANILA, Philippines — No forcible demolition has taken place a week after the Bases Conversion and Development Authority issued an eviction notice against an Aeta community in Capas, Tarlac as part of the New Clark City development, according to an indigenous people’s rights group.
Sandugo, a Moro and indigenous people's alliance, said that while any eviction has yet to take place, a checkpoint now stands near the community and has since sowed fear among residents of impending demolition.
Aya Santos of Sandugo told Philstar.com that a checkpoint was set up on December 6 along an access road nearby, with armed guards preventing outsiders, “especially the media,” from entering.
“So far walang pagpapaalis. Usually yung hindi pinapapasok yung mga hindi taga-roon. Midya, ganyan,” Santos said, citing updates from Casamira Maniego, the local recipient of BCDA’s eviction notice.
(No one is being forced to leave so far. Usually, the ones who aren’t allowed past the checkpoint are outsiders. The media, for example.)
Santos said Channel 5 media practitioners were allowed to get past the checkpoint for coverage once but were prevented from entering the Aeta community when they came back.
She also said NGO representatives had to search for a different route in order to enter the said community.
Casamira Maniego, head of the Asosyason ng Katutubong Mahawang in Capas, told Philstar.com that around 500 Aeta families would be displaced with nowhere to go if a demolition pushes through.
Maniego, who received the notice from the BCDA on December 2, said the community rejects the eviction. They were initially unsure if the eviction notice will be effective as of December 9, exactly a week after receipt of the letter, or December 11, which excludes the weekend.
Santos said the main implication of the checkpoint is the deliberate attempt to hide the Aeta’s situation from the public eye.
“[G]usto sana nating maipakita sa ibang tao, kunwari sa midya ganyan and other indigenous peoples advocates ano yung sitwasyon doon sa loob…kasi gusto natin ipakita na totoong part siya ng BCDA, ng New Clark City, at totoong may Aeta doon sa loob,” she said.
(We want to show people, especially to the media and other indigenous peoples advocates, what’s been happening and what the situation is inside the Aeta community…we want to show the reality that the community is a part of the BCDA’s New Clark City development, that Aetas live there.)
The BCDA on December 5 issued a statement denying that any forcible demolition targeting Aeta communities would take place.
“The seven-day notice issued by the [BCDA] is a standard follow-up letter sent to all claimants who rejected the financial assistance offered by government,” the statement posted on the BCDA website read.
“There are no targeted Aeta communities. The notice was given to all claimants to inform of the need to start the construction of the New Clark City to Clark International Airport access road in that particular area.”
The day before the BCDA published the statement, Sandugo posted a photograph of the said eviction notice on social media.
“Nais po naming ipabatid sa inyo na ang lupain na kasalukuyang kinatitirikan ng inyong bahay/istruktura o sinasaka niyo sa Barangay Aranguren, Capas, Tarlac ay pagmamay-ari ng pamahalaan na nasa ilalim ng pangagasiwa ng [BCDA] ayon sa Batas Republika Bilang 7227," the document read.
(We wish to inform you that the land where your housing is based and which you till in Barangay Aranguren, Capas, Tarlac is owned by the government and is administered by the BCDA based on RA 7227, or the Bases Conversion and Development Act of 1992.)
Credit belongs to : www.philstar.ca