Bishops: Respect land titles of Ati tribe in Boracay

June 5, 2023 - 3:19 PM
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Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc, CBCP-ECIP Visayas Bishop-in-Charge. (Diocese of Kalibo via CBCP News)

The country’s Catholic bishops on Friday appealed for “honor and respect” to the land titles awarded by the government to the Ati tribe of Boracay Island in 2018.

The bishops’ Episcopal Commission on Indigenous Peoples (ECIP) backs the position that the Certificate of Land Ownership Awards (CLOAS) of the Atis are “just”.

“We uphold that the Atis are the legitimate owner of these CLOAs (certificate of land ownership award),” said Bishop Jose Corazon Tala-oc of Kalibo and ECIP Visayas bishop-in-charge.

“We hope the previous predicament faced by the Boracay Atis pertaining to their land will not happen again,” he said.

The ECIP particularly addressed their call to the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) and private developers in the famous tourist island.

The IPs who are agrarian reform beneficiaries face the risk of losing their lands awarded to them during the Duterte administration over claims for being “unsuitable” for agriculture.

But Tala-oc contradicted the claim saying several members of Ati community are currently tilling the land awarded to them, “while producing agricultural crops that are source of their sustenance and livelihood.”

“The Boracay Atis are crying for justice, and we are with them,” he said.

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