Olongapo SubicBay BatangGapo Newscenter

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Aetas demand consultation on projects

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—The Aeta tribe in the Botolan, Zambales side of Mt. Pinatubo warned of war if tourism projects and other developments in the vicinity of the volcano were not consulted with them.

“Developers are going to have a taste of our fury if they will insist on their plans without consulting us,” Carlito Dumulot, chair of the Lubos na Alyansa ng mga Katutubong Ayta ng Sambales (Lakas), told the Inquirer from Barangay Mambog in the uplands of Botolan on Tuesday.

Dumulot was reacting to the road carved by the Korean-owned PDC Development Corp. (PDCDC) and the Capas government toward the crater via Sta. Juliana route in Capas, Tarlac.

Opened to tourists on April 29, the 7-km road skips the regular route along the lahar-choked O’ Donnell River and shortens the trek to the 3-km wide crater-lake to an hour.

The road, he said, gives greater access to mainly South Korean visitors.

The PDCDC also maintains a stable for horses at Sitio Magkupya and a fleet of boats at the crater.

No Aeta tribes, not even those from Sta. Juliana, gave the project a free and prior informed consent certificate, according to Dumulot.

Salong Sunggod, Central Luzon director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and Chito Balintay, officer of the NCIP in Zambales, confirmed this in separate interviews.

Dumulot said the Aeta tribes of Botolan are asserting their rights to determine the projects and administer the activities in and around the crater because it belonged to the territory of the town.

He said other Aeta tribes and clans in Pampanga, Tarlac and Zambales recognized even before the 1991 eruptions that the summit straddled the Botolan side.

The tribe, Dumulot said, also wanted to protect the volcano from desecration amid the rising numbers of tourists. Tonette Orejas, PDI Central Luzon Desk


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