Ati tribespeople, supporters occupy Boracay disputed land
April 17, 2012
First published in Philippine Daily Inquirer
by Nestor P. Burgos, Jr.
BORACAY ISLAND, Philippines—Around 60 members of the Ati tribe in Boracay along with their supporters, including Roman Catholic nuns, occupied a 2.1-hectare property on the island that is being claimed by various groups although it is covered by a Certificate of Ancestral Domain.
The caretakers of other claimants were caught by surprise when the tribespeople and their supporters arrived at the island’s Barangay Manoc-Manoc, which is part of the municipality of Malay, Aklan, before 6 a.m. Tuesday.
The women tribe members installed a makeshift altar with an image of the Virgin Mary and prayed while the men started building a bamboo fence and a hut.
The certificate of tribal domain, which is a group land title, was turned over to the tribe in January last year but the National Commission on Indigenous People has not yet issued a writ of possession.