December 4, 2022

The Benguet Provincial Board has urged the Departments of Environment and Natural Resources and the Agrarian Reform not to process land titles within areas with certificates of ancestral domain titles (CADTs) without prior consultation with the indigenous peoples.

In a resolution authored by provincial Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative Recto Alawas, the board added the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples must also issue a certificate of non-overlap prior to the issuance of a land title in CADT areas. 

“The issuance of another land title by the DENR or DAR over any portion of lot within the said ancestral domains covered by CADTs will result in double or overlapping titles,” the resolution read.

There are 15 ancestral domains in Benguet that were issued with CADTs by the NCIP through Section 52 of Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act.

A CADT formally recognizes the rights of possession and ownership of indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples over their ancestral domains identified and delineated in accordance with law.

“It is but proper that before the DENR or DAR issues a land title over a portion of lot within the same ancestral domains, a prior consent of the concerned indigenous peoples as CADT holders and a certificate of non-overlap by the NCIP shall be secured,” it added. 

Alawas said there had been instances where there were overlapping of titles inside CADT areas.

“We learned that a portion of land somewhere in Itogon, Benguet was issued a free patent title to a Manilenyo, but we are still checking if the title was perfected. This was our basis in coming up with the resolution,” Alawas said.

He said the IPs of Itogon were not consulted about the titling.

Copies of the resolution were furnished the regional offices of DENR, DAR, NCIP and the 15 indigenous people’s organizations in the province that are CADT holders. – Ofelia C. Empian