January 13, 2018

BORACAY – Members of the Boracay Ati Tribal Organization (BATO) are pinning their hopes for social protection on their devotion to the Santo Niño, or Child Jesus, as some corporate firms in this island resort continue to harass them, they said.

BATO chief Delsa Justo said the Holy Rosary Parish in Boracay is investigating the Dec. 6, 2017 incident involving a group of men who destroyed the fence of a 200-hectare Aeta village in Barangay Balabag.

The investigation’s results will be presented before the Parish Pastoral Council soon, Justo added.

The property where the Aeta village is located was given to BATO through a certificate of ancestral domain title.

The National Commission on Indigenous People facilitated the transfer of the land title to the aetas. It was given to them during Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III’s term as president of the Philippines.

In 2013, a security guard of a resort in Boracay gunned down then BATO spokesman Dexter Condez.

The resort allegedly has an interest over the Aeta village property, BATO said.

The BATO is helping the local parish in preparing for the Santo Niño Festival in this island tomorrow.

John Francis Lagman of the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (Pakisama) said the Aeta community in Boracay must be protected amid the development in the island’s business and tourism sectors.

“We in Pakisama are helping the Aetas. They need social justice and social protection because they are being continuously threatened,” said Lagman./PN


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