SERVED. Officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Region 10, other government agencies, police, and military serve a cease and desist order on Kianteg Development Corporation in Quezon, Bukidnon on Saturday (April 30, 2022). The company and all other claimants are ordered to stay out of the property being claimed by the Manobo-Pulangihon Indigenous tribe as its ancestral land. (Photo courtesy of NCIP)

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) has ordered a company occupying a portion of an ancestral domain in Quezon, Bukidnon to stop its operations on the disputed land.

Allen Capuyan, NCIP chairperson, posted on Facebook on Saturday that a cease and desist order (CDO) has already been served to the Kianteg Development Corporation (KDC).

Capuyan posted a copy of the CDO received by one of the Kianteg’s security personnel guarding the contested site.

The CDO was served by the NCIP-10 team with Office on Empowerment and Human Rights Director Rey Dingal, and representatives of DENR, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, Commission on Human Rights, Department of the Interior and Local Government, police, Philippine Army, and members of the media.

“This resolves the petition for the issuance of a CDO filed by the Manobo-Pulangihon Indigenous Cultural Community/Indigenous Peoples praying for an order enjoining the operators and owners of the KDC," the order read.

The CDO covers all persons claiming rights over the land and all illegal occupants of the property in view of the expiration of the Forest Land Graze Management Agreement (FLGMA) and the absence of the Free and Prior Informed Consent from the recipients of the ancestral domain.

The occupied property is part of the 1,111-hectare land in Barangays Butong and San Jose.

In an online message to the Philippine News Agency, Federation of Free Farmers chairperson and former Agriculture secretary Leonardo Montemayor, said the CDO will be instrumental in the return of the displaced tribe members to their ancestral home.

“Hopefully, this development will pave the way for the early repossession by the Manobo-Pulangiyons of their land,” Montemayor said.

Since 2017, about a thousand families belonging to the Manobo-Pulangihon tribe have been living in makeshift shelters beside the national highway in Quezon, just a few meters away from their ancestral land, after they were driven away by KDC.

In 1986, an entity called Cesar Fortich Inc. secured a 25-year FLGMA from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) that expired in 2018.

Sometime in 2007, Cesar Fortich Inc. changed its name to KDC and reportedly appointed Pablo Lorenzo III, Quezon’s incumbent municipal mayor, as its general manager.

On April 19, 2022, some of the tribe’s members entered the contested land together with presidential candidate Leody de Guzman and senatorial aspirants Roy Cabonegro and David D’Angelo when armed men fired at them, wounding five persons. (PNA)