An inter-agency body, led by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), will soon start the construction of a new community for Ati families in Boracay after decades of struggle for their rights to their ancestral domain.
NCIP Executive Director Marlea Muñez said the Ati families would now own and enjoy the benefits of their ancestral domain as the government fast- tracks the development of a new community that will help improve the living conditions of the indigenous cultural community.
“The layout of infrastructure for the Ati community will be implemented through an inter-agency approach. This will include the construction of church, school buildings, health center, hall and other facilities,” Muñez added.
To ensure the sustainable development of the community, the NCIP chief added that they have enlisted the help of the Philippine National Police (PNP), Philippine Army (PA), Department of Justice (DOJ), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Assisi Foundation and other institutions.
“I am confident that both national and local governments as well as the police will continue their support to facilitate delivery of basic services and secure the Ati community,” Muñez said.
The move came after the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples affirmed the delineation and demarcation of 2.1 hectares of ancestral lands in Manoc-Manoc, Boracay, Malay, Aklan.
The NCIP approved on February 24, 2014 en banc resolution 06-017-2014, which affirmed “the full implementation of Delineating and Demarcating on the Ground the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title RO6- Mal-0610-157 of Ati cultural community in Manoc-Manoc, Boracay, Malay, Aklan.”
Muñez, who also serves as the secretariat to the NCIP, said the resolution came after the commission and the Ati Community dismantled and confiscated the illegal fence established within the ancestral domain.
NCIP will be initiating an undertaking on Business and Human Rights that will be coordinated with the Commission on Human Rights and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights under the thematic window of Land, Housing and Property.
Muñez called on businesses and investors to respect the rights of the Ati at least by seeking Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) of the Ati community before having any form of activity within the ancestral domain.
“Going through the FPIC will not only ensure respect for human rights of indigenous cultural communities but also harmonious relationship, development, and peace in the island,” she said.
“Peace and development in the Ati community surely proved the phrase ‘more fun in Boracay’,” Munez added.
The NCIP will also support the holding of seminars and workshops on Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) and environmental laws.
Local supporters from the police, local governments, civil society organizations and NCIP will be participating in the activities.
The Ati community will also be involved in the celebration of the anniversary of the Boracay Beach Management Program.