Tribal groups bullish for end to ancestral claims woes under Duterte administration

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY –- Members of an association of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) in Northern Mindanao on Thursday expressed optimism that the problem on ancestral claims would be resolved under the administration of President Rodrigo R. Duterte.

Datu Imbatal, one of the leaders of the Northern Mindanao Tribal Association (NMTA), made the statement in reaction to the speech of President Duterte after taking his oath of office in Malacañang Thursday.

Datu Imbatal together with Datu Makatundag and Datu Kawaling were among the thousands of people in this trading hub of Northern Mindanao, who watched and listened to the speech of Duterte Thursday noon.

“The tribal community is elated about having a President from Mindanao where the IPs have been exploited and oppressed for many years by the unscrupulous groups, persons, and individuals,” Imbatal said.

He said that Duterte knows about the problem of ancestral claims in Mindanao where influential people “discreetly” obtained “spurious” land titles in Manila.

Imbatal cited the ancestral claims of the tribal community involving about 60 hectares “timber land” in Barra, Opol, Misamis Oriental where an influential businessman allegedly obtained a “questionable land title” in Manila.

He said that the members of the Northern Mindanao Higa-onon Tribal Association expressed hope that under the Duterte administration, the IPs could regain the ancestral land that rightfully belonged to them. PNA/