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Ati tribe fenced off in Boracay

ILOILO CITY, Philippines — Tension has sparked in Boracay after security guards allegedly fenced off parcels of land owned by members of the Ati tribe.

Reports said the lots are in Sitios Cagban Babaw, Bantud and Angol in Barangay Manoc-Manoc.

In a press statement, the Ati community, represented by the Asosasyon sang Boracay Ati Tribal Organization, claimed that the group was displaced from its ancestral land.

“Security guards, allegedly acting on behalf of developers claiming ownership, entered the property and encircled it with a fence on March 24,” the statement read.

On Monday night, Ati mothers were reportedly prevented from going to their homes.

The developer-claimants said the land title of the Atis has been revoked by the Department of Agrarian Reform.

“However, no final order has been received by the tribe, as the legal proceedings regarding the land ownership dispute are still ongoing,” the statement read.

Former president Rodrigo Duterte granted 3.1 hectares of land to the indigenous group in November 2018 through a certificate of land ownership award.

Before their occupation, the Ati settlers claimed the lots were abandoned.

“Over the past two years, the Ati community has transformed the land into productive agricultural areas, cultivating vegetable gardens and raising livestock, including dragon fruit,“ the group said.

“Their agricultural output has sustained them through the pandemic, with surplus produce being supplied to local hotels and businesses,” it added.

The Commission on Human Rights has been asked to intervene to settle the dispute.