Development for whom? P607-B New Clark City to displace Aeta Communities

  • The Philippine government is pushing for the completion of New Clark City
  • NCC seeks to be an alternative to highly-congested and poorly-planned Manila
  • But these development leads to displacement of the Aeta Hungey, said to be the oldest tribe in the province

The Philippine government seems in full-force for the successful completion of the P607-billion “green city” called New Clark City (NCC) in Capas, Tarlac.

Image via New Clark City | Facebook

This development, however, will apparently displace the tens of thousands of farmers and Aeta Hungey who were residents of the area, and said to be the oldest Aeta tribe in the province.

In a two-part story published on Inquirer, the consequences of this development to the indigenous people were tackled.

NCC is a project that was approved in 2015 during the administration of the then President Benigno Aquino III which later on became one of the flagship projects of the Duterte administration.

The “green city” is designed to be an alternative to highly-congested and poorly planned Manila. It was modeled after green cities in Singapore and China. The project’s first phase is nearly being finished as this will be used for the 2019 Southeast Asian Games in the last quarter of 2019.

Displacement is reportedly imminent to the people who have tilled the land for decades and will expose them to same disasters that the NCC is being built to withstand.

During the start of its development in 2017, productive rice fields were flattened in order to make it concrete. Alas for Mang Michael of Sitio Kamatis whose nearly ripe crops were put to waste and this would have been equal to 150 cavans of rice. For his land, he was paid P300,000.

Image via New Clark City | Facebook

Tito Capitulo, whose land was also paid with the same amount, said “What is the point of being a progressive country? In all honesty, if you are truly progressive, there would be no casualties of this development. That for me is real development. But this project? It’s only for their benefit.”

Capitulo lived in his land for years to sustain his family’s needs; this was passed on to him by his parents.

Moreover, the tribes said they have pending claims for certificates of ancestral domain titles (CADT) at the National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), but NCIP Bamban OIC Melecio Polon said there were none for those that would be hit by the development.

Image via New Clark City | Facebook

Casimira Maniego showed documents for application since 1999 for 18,000 hectares of ancestral land in Capas but the NCIP refused to acknowledge the documents.

Maniego said, “The government I know is the one ruled by the people. So how can they tell us that our land can be taken because it is owned by the government? Only death can make us surrender our fight.”

Image via New Clark City | Facebook