Bishop urges gov’t to act more on ancestral land claims

Bishop urges gov’t to act more on ancestral land claims

Bishop Valentin Dimoc (right) of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) play the gongs with Bagobo-Klata men during the national celebration of Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday at the Upper Sirib in the southern city of Davao’s Calinan district on Oct. 9, 2022. NIKKO BALBEDINA

By Nikko Balbedina

October 11, 2022

Davao City

A Catholic bishop has called on the government to pay more attention to legitimate ancestral land claims by indigenous peoples living in different parts of the country.

Bishop Valentine Dimoc, chairman of the CBCP Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples, said ancestral domain issues remain among major challenges that IP communities face until today.

“Many indigenous groups still do not have their CADT (certificate of ancestral domain title) and are still struggling,” Dimoc said.

“And sometimes, there is no NCIP (National Commission on Indigenous Peoples) to help them,” he lamented.

The bishop was speaking during the national celebration of the 45th Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday at the Upper Sirib in the southern Philippine city of Davao’s Calinan district on October 9.

Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao presides over Mass to the celebrate the Indigenous Peoples’ Sunday at the Upper Sirib in the southern city of Davao’s Calinan district on Oct. 9, 2022. NIKKO BALBEDINA

Speaking to the Bagobo-Klata tribe, he told them that they are “blessed” to have an NCIP that cares for them.

“I’m sure that your NCIP here, along with your government, your church and other organizations are biddable, merciful and loving that they worked for and helped you to have your CADT. Sana all,” Dimoc added, using a modern-day Filipino catchphrase.

This year’s IP Sunday national celebration was hosted by the Archdiocese of Davao in partnership with the ECIP.

Various activities were held during the day including dialogues, tree-planting and Mass officiated by Archbishop Romulo Valles of Davao and former CBCP president.

The event was also held a day after the “Panagtagbo 2022”, a local celebration of the indigenous peoples’ “culture, faith and of life”.

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