By Joseph Pedrajas | Manila Bulletin
If elected president, former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. will determine the original ancestral domain of the indigenous peoples (IPs) to give them justice and protect them from land grabbing.
During SMNI’s presidential debate on Tuesday night, Feb. 16, Marcos Jr. said there is a need for the government to acknowledge the IPs’ ancestral domains so that they will be protected from illegal acts. He said a law to this effect is also vital.
“Ngayon pag may papasok na halimbawa, nagiging problema ito sa mga minahan, at sinasabi basta pinapaalis na lang yung IP, ang pinakamalaking mabibigay sa kanila ay magtrabaho doon sa minahan, eh dapat palitan natin yung sistemang yan at kilalanin na sila ‘yung may-ari ng lupang ‘yan (We must change this system, which usually happens in mining areas, that whenever a claimant enters a property, he or she just evicts the IPs and only offer them jobs. We must honor their rights to the land),” he said.
“Kung lupa nila… di naman sila pwedeng papaalisin doon (If it’s their land, then we cannot remove them there),” he added of IPs.
Once the government learns to honor their ancestral domain, then, Marcos said, “We will treat them the same way we do to other Filipino citizens.”
In a statement December last year, Marcos Jr. stressed the importance of IPs by promoting their rights and welfare.
He said IPs are the first Filipinos and “The thing we have to do is stop categorizing them as second-class citizens, they should have all the rights and benefits that all Filipinos have.”