Former Ifugao governor and congressman Teddy Baguilat, who is now seeking a Senate seat, stated on Friday morning that he favors the issuance of the cease and desist order (CDO) against Ayala Corporation’s Ten Knots Philippines, Inc. (TKPI), which is accused of breaching indigenous people’s rights.
At a press conference, Baguilat stated that he supports the CDO against TKPI for allegedly claiming ancestral rights to over 200 hectares of land it currently occupies in El Nido town, including a private airstrip and a sprawling tourism estate with several high-end hotels and other tourism-related establishments.
“Susuportahan ko ‘yong issuance ng CDO. Sana hindi lang humantong sa CDO, kundi magkaroon talaga ng dialogue with [the] corporation because ang IPs o mga Tagbanua naman sa El Nido ay hindi naman anti-development,”Baguilat said.
“Alam naman nila na in the long run, tourism will bring jobs. Tulad na lang ng mga kapatid natin sa Coron, kumikita sila sa turismo,” he added.
The order, issued by the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) on March 7, 2022, chastised TKPI for allegedly failing to obtain the Tagbanua tribe’s free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC).
Meanwhile, TKPI’s legal counsel told Palawan News on March 17 that the company did not break any of the prohibitions of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) stated by the NCIP.
Baguilat said that Republic Act 8371, known as the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1987 (IPRA law), is a law that protects the IP’s cultural integrity, their right to their land, and their right to self-directed development of their land.
“Meron na tayong batas na Indigenous Peoples Rights Act. Malinaw naman doon na kinikilala ng pamahalaan ang ninunong lupa ng katutubo na implementative titles. Nakalagay rin doon sa batas that native titles are also recognized,” he said.
Baguilat was in the city on Friday to touch base with Indigenous Peoples (IP) and to discuss IP-related issues in the province at the Nagkakaisang Tribu ng Palawan (NATRIPAL) office, and to reaffirm IPs’ support for the Robredo-Pangilinan tandem.
He served as governor of Ifugao from 2007 to 2010 and then as the province’s congressman from 2007 to 2010.