FARM DEV’T. Manobo indigenous community members who are holders of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title No. 210 sign Wednesday (Nov. 16, 2022) a memorandum of agreement with the TS-RGB Agri-Ventures Corporation in Bislig City for the establishment of a 3,500-hectare coconut plantation in Lingig, Surigao del Sur. The agreement came with the Manobos granting the firm's Free and Prior Informed Consent application. (Photo courtesy of NCIP-SDS)

BUTUAN CITY – A 3,500 -hectare coconut plantation is set open early next year inside the Manobo ancestral domain in Surigao del Sur’s town of Lingig.

In a statement Thursday, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in Surigao del Sur (NCIP-SDS) said the establishment of the coconut farm is supported by a memorandum of agreement (MOA) between the holders of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title No. 210 (CADT-120) and the TS-RGB Agri-Ventures Corporation.

The MOA was signed Wednesday in Bislig City, Surigao del Sur, after the Manobo indigenous community granted the firm's Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) application.

“Under the MOA, the IP leaders of CADT 210 and the management of TS RGB Agri-Ventures Corporation undertakes to build a strong collaboration and mutual support on the implementation of the proponent for their agricultural engagements in the area,” NCIP-SDS said.

It said the MOA ensures the provision of benefits that will enhance the socio-economic status of the communities inside the CADT-210, including employment opportunities.

The CADT 210 covers nine sitios in Barangay Rajah Cabungsuan, and three sitios in Barangay Bogak, all in Lingig town.

Datu Reynal Gay-od, one of the leaders in CADT 210 and the Municipal Indigenous People Mandatory Representative of Lingig, lauded the NCIP-SDS for the technical support provided during the issuance of the FPIC.

The granting of FPIC is mandated under Republic Act No. 8371 or the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA Law).

Under the law, the FPIC expresses the consensus of all members of the IP community determined by their respective customary laws and practices, and free from any external manipulation, interference, and coercion.

The TS-RGB Agri-Ventures Corporation based in Tagum, Davao del Norte, intends not only to establish a coconut plantation in the area, but also formations needed to fully develop the farm.

The establishments include harvesting and processing facilities, equipment, batching plant, laydown area, soil disposal area, engineer’s office, subcontractors camp and assembly areas. (PNA)