Davao natives win fight over ancestral domain rights

Matigsalogs form tribal council to manage ancestral domain


The Matigsalog tribe of Marilog District in Davao City has formed a tribal council of elders to manage a 72,000-hectare ancestral domain recently carved out of a title issued to indigenous people of Kitaotao, Bukidnon.

Tribal leader Datu Ernisto Salumay said his tribe has formed the Matigsalog Council of Elders that would coordinate with government in managing the ancestral domain.

The council of elders would is composed of 20 tribal leaders of the Matigsalog tribe. The National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) had issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) covering 102,000 hectares to the Matigsalog-Manobo tribe of Kitaotao, but included large part of ancestral domain in Davao City and North Cotabato.

Last March however, NICP commissioners in an en banc resolution ordered that the Davao City ancestral domain be placed under management of the Matigsalog tribe.

Salumay said however they have sought the intervention of NCIP before finalization of a management agreement between his tribe and the government, to exclude from the Matigsalog ancestral domain portions that are covered by claims of the Ubo tribe.

Ubo tribal leader Datu Luis Lambac has asked Datu Salumay, the chairman of the Matigsalog Council of Elders, that the Ubo domain be placed under the management of his tribe.

The award of the Matigsalog tribal domain to Davao City indigenous people followed efforts by Davao City councilor Arnolfo Ricardo Cabling to separate the domain from the Bukidnon CADT. As then chair of the committee on environment, Cabling steered approval of a council resolution asking President Arroyo and NCIP to exclude the Davao City portion, fearing social and tribal conflict.

While the Bukidnon CADT would not be amended, NCIP said it would set up a management agreement with the group of Datu Salumay to manage the Davao City portion of the ancestral domain.

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