Boracay Atis get land ownership titles

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

(File photo)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — After decades of struggle, Boracay's first settlers get to occupy more of their ancestral land.

President Rodrigo Duterte distributed Certificates of Land Ownership Award (CLOA) to the Atis Thursday, which would allow the tribe to occupy 3.2 hectares of land on Boracay.

RELATED: Duterte to distribute land titles to Boracay tribe on Nov. 8 — DAR

Over the years, the Atis have been pushed around to different parts of the island, and they currently occupy a two hectare village on Boracay.

Lourdes Tamboon, a community teacher of the Ati tribe said, "Nung lumipas na yung mga panahon, naging sikat na yung Boracay, nawalan na kami ng area...kasi sabi daw nila, yung mga Ati nomadic naman yan, eh. Wala daw talagang pwesto para sa amin. Yun ang masakit."

[Translation: Over time, Boracay became famous and we were left with little land because they said the Atis were nomadic. There was no place for us. That was hurtful.]

In his speech during the awarding ceremony, President Duterte urged the tribe to develop the land.

"Stick with the land. Make it productive. And some day, you can expect that when you sell it, at least yung mga anak at apo ninyo, milyonaryo [your children, grandchildren will be millionaires]," he said.

Apart from Ati tribe members, hundreds of agrarian reform beneficiaries also get land ownership certificates covering a total 270 hectares of land in Aklan.

Tamboon only hopes that the certificates of ownership will be enough to ward off possible claimants.

The Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR) admits there are seven claimants to the 3-hectare plot of land given to the Ati tribe, But none of them are title holders to the properties which the agency stressed  are owned by the government.

"Wala na sila dapat ikatakot kasi itong mga ito, tax declarant lang sila [They have nothing more to feat because the others are just tax declarants].  And as I said, yung tax declaration is not a full proof of ownership," said DAR Secretary John Castriciones.