Senator Risa Hontiveros wanted to launch an investigation over the alleged displacement of Aeta families while the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) is building the facilities for the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
According to Hontiveros, there’s no reason for the government to be proud of the world-class infrastructures they built if it’s proven that they violated the rights of the indigenous people.
“Pinagmalaki natin ang mga katutubong kultura sa opening ng SEA Games sa New Clark City pero tinanggalan naman natin sila ng lupa at kabuhayan,” Hontiveros said.
“Development should not come at the expense of the rights and welfare of indigenous communities and of the environment. Hindi tunay ang pag-unlad kung may paglabag ito sa karapatan ng mga katutubo at ng kalikasan,” she added.
According to resolution 257 that filed by Hontiveros, “there are an estimated 15,000 local farmers and 20,000 Aeta and Abelling indigenous communities likely to be affected” by the infrastructures built by BCDA in New Clark City.
However, BCDA already explained that they didn’t force the Aetas to leave their homes in the vicinity of New Clark City.
“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 the government,” the Thursday statement 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,” they added.
Blogger RJ “Thinking Pinoy” Nieto who talked to BCDA President Vince Dizon said that Aetas are going to receive compensation if they got evicted from New Clark City.
:4.1. If Aeta Informal Settler has crops in New Clark City, BCDA gives Aeta Informal Settler 30 pesos per square meter of agricultural land, equivalent to Php 300,000 per hectare (1 hectare = 10,000 sqm.)” Nieto wrote.
“4.2. If Aeta Informal Settler has a home inside New Clark City, BCDA gives Aeta Informal Settler an alternative plot to build a house on, and that plot is WITHIN New Clark City,” he added.
“4.3. BCDA also provides Aetas livelihood assistance, along with other government assistance that may be provided as mandated by law.” he also wrote.