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Land is Life

Land is Life

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The Aetas’ concern to reclaim the Mount Pinatubo emerged out of an ordinary community organizing works. The Aetas of Botolan approached PDI to assist them on this issue. First PDI created a consultation session with the Aetas themselves to validate their concern, and then later on, with concerned government agencies at the provincial and national levels to put forward the Aetas’ demand. One important aspect of the Aetas’ claim in their ancestral land is their ethnicity and the land’s ancestral value, which is evidenced in the Aetas’ narration of their ancestors’ historical presence in the land. The Aetas are using the IPRA law to reclaim the land. These are the ancestral domain provision in the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA). As of now, advocacy is centered in the land’s ancestral integrity. It is, however, being stressed that the Aetas’ cause transcends the land issue. Ultimately, it is the Aetas’ food security and welfare, in the forms of economic and socio-political education and empowerment as shown in their existing IKSP pertaining to their food system, and the Implementation of government policies with regard to IKSP and food security, that serve as the main objectives of this Aeta Advocacy paper. Provision of assessment and recommendation follows.
The Aetas’ concern to reclaim the Mount Pinatubo emerged out of an ordinary community organizing works. The Aetas of Botolan approached PDI to assist them on this issue. First PDI created a consultation session with the Aetas themselves to validate their concern, and then later on, with concerned government agencies at the provincial and national levels to put forward the Aetas’ demand. One important aspect of the Aetas’ claim in their ancestral land is their ethnicity and the land’s ancestral value, which is evidenced in the Aetas’ narration of their ancestors’ historical presence in the land. The Aetas are using the IPRA law to reclaim the land. These are the ancestral domain provision in the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA). As of now, advocacy is centered in the land’s ancestral integrity. It is, however, being stressed that the Aetas’ cause transcends the land issue. Ultimately, it is the Aetas’ food security and welfare, in the forms of economic and socio-political education and empowerment as shown in their existing IKSP pertaining to their food system, and the Implementation of government policies with regard to IKSP and food security, that serve as the main objectives of this Aeta Advocacy paper. Provision of assessment and recommendation follows.

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Published by: Peoples Development Institute on Jul 24, 2009
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07/26/2012

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Land is Life
An Advocacy Paper on the Land Claim and IKSP of the Aetas of Botolan, Zambales
 by the:Project Development Institute
Edited by Aurea G. Miclat- Teves
ABSTRACT
The Aetas’ concern to reclaim the Mount Pinatubo emerged outof an ordinary community organizing works. The Aetas ofBotolan approached PDI to assist them on this issue. First PDIcreated a consultation session with the Aetas themselves tovalidate their concern, and then later on, with concernedgovernment agencies at the provincial and national levels to putforward the Aetas’ demand. One important aspect of the Aetas’claim in their ancestral land is their ethnicity and the land’sancestral value, which is evidenced in the Aetas’ narration oftheir ancestors’ historical presence in the land. The Aetas areusing the IPRA law to reclaim the land. These are the ancestraldomain provision in the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA).As of now, advocacy is centered in the land’s ancestral integrity.It is, however, being stressed that the Aetas’ cause transcendsthe land issue. Ultimately, it is the Aetas’ food security andwelfare, in the forms of economic and socio-political educationand empowerment as shown in their existing IKSP pertaining totheir food system, and the Implementation of governmentpolicies with regard to IKSP and food security, that serve as themain objectives of this Aeta Advocacy paper. Provision ofassessment and recommendation follows.
Acknowledgment:
In behalf of the Project Development Institute, I would like to thank Kathleen Ocampoand Ruel Punongbayan who helped in the research work, to Analyn Osias for the technicalsupport and Ramon Ayco for the photo documentation . I would also like to thank the AreaManagement Team of Zambales headed by Al Carillo and the Aeta LAKAS community in their full participation and commitment to share their lifelong experiences.
 
The Aetas’ Land and Life, p. 2
INTRODUCTION
A. Context
The province of Zambales is home to one of themajor ethnic groups in the Philippines, the Aetas, small,dark skinned, nomadic people. Mostly forest foragers andhunters, the Aetas were a highly mobile people whofollowed wild game, and gathered root crops and fruitsfrom the dense forested highlands of Zambales. Thedemands of the hunting-gathering culture of the aetasdiscouraged permanent settlement, and at the same time theaccumulation of material goods. While going about withtheir daily lives, the only materials the aetas bring withthem are bows and arrows. They have also developed a popular wind instrument called
bansik 
, a four-holed flutefashioned from mountain cane.The ethnicity of the Pinatubo Aetas is the most significant aspect of their claim to their land and life. Like any other indigenous groups, their life has an important, and almost cosmic,link to their land. It is almost cosmic in the sense that their world consciousness and thecontinuity of their way of life are rooted in the land where they were born and have defined their humanity. Their land of origin in the mountains and forests of Mount Pinatubo is not only thesource of their sustenance, it is also home to their identity and culture.The Pinatubo Aetas’ situation, however, need not be confined to this perspective. TheAetas’ well-being may likewise be addressed from the perspectives of their economic capabilityand their assimilation to the political diversity of the bigger Filipino society. The humandevelopment of the Aetas, or for that matter, of any ethnic minority group, must consist of the
 
The Aetas’ Land and Life, p. 3
freedom to assert cultural identity and the opportunity to pursue economic and politicalempowerment.
B. Framework:
 Using the Participatory Action Research, the main subject of this paper is to documentthe claim of the Botolan Aetas in their ancestral domain and the process of securing their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) and its important implications on their welfareand development. The effort to cover and document the existing Indigenous Knowledge System
A meeting to trace the boundary of Aeta villages coveredwith lahar as prerequisite for the granting of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).
 
(IKSP) pertaining to their food system will be done , including the assessment of thegovernment’s implementation with regard to policies on IKSP and food security. Withthis humble contribution, this paper intendsto advance the Aetas’ demand for their CADT. At this point, the primacy of thisclamor is to gain actual title to strengthentheir ownership of their ancestral land andadvance their food security.The paper is outlined as follows. TheAetas’ socio-cultural profile and their experience during the Mount Pinatuboeruption serve as a preliminary part. It contextualizes the discussion within the Aetas’ indigenousworld—their environment, culture, society, religion, etc.—and their traumatic experience duringthe Mount Pinatubo eruption. From here, the emergent need and condition of the Aetas were presented. Part Three particularly deals with their ancestral claim and the available methods of action the Aetas can take to assert their right over it. Part Four then tackles the welfare concernof the Aetas.
C. Methodology
The IKSP's of the Aetas have already treaded quite a long history. There are many butonly a few have been recorded. However, the people keep a huge stock of information,knowledge and stories handed down through generations through oral traditional and continuing practices. The methods used for this study entailed discussions with the individuals familiar withtheir indigenous practices.1.
 
Key Informant Interviews – several individuals from concerned agencies andorganizations were interviewed for this case study: (1) Mayor Roger Yap – MunicipalMayor of Botolan, Zambales, (2) PENRO Cesar Estrada – Head of the ProvincialEnvironment and Resource Office in Zambales, (3) Ms. Myrna Encinares – Officer-in-Charge of the National Commission for Indigenous People in Zambales, (4) Mr. AlcadeFallurin – Coordinator in a mining company in Zambales, (5) Mr. Carlito Dumulot – Tribal Chieftain at LAKAS Community in Bihawo, Villar, Botolan, Zambales, (6) AlCarillo – Area Coordinator of the Project Development Institute at Zambales

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