So these “indiscretions” by the American Governor in Benguet must be one of the ways how American mining companies ended up owning much of the province’s rich mines. Funny how he was only charged with “indiscretions” when he was practically stealing the land of the iBenguets. But then again, at least he was charged with something unlike Gloria and her alipores who will likely get away with their various crimes against the Republic and its peoples.
One of the biggest problems in the Cordilleras (and the whole country as well) is the boundary disputes between local government units. It is a problem that mostly simmers under the surface but it has the potential to blow up especially if contested areas are rich with resources or offers high income opportunities.
In the article below, an official from the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) suggests that elders should be involved in settling boundary disputes. There is nothing wrong with that of course, it’s better that these things are decided by more people rather than by a few officials. However we are, by the day, losing our elders who really know the boundaries of the past. [In fact, are our earlier concept of boundaries really the same as what “boundary” means today?] The other thing is that I’m not quite sure if the elders could be impartial if they are members of communities in dispute. But, as mentioned earlier, it is better that they are involved in this process.
Ramon Tulfo is not my kind of columnist but he does have interesting “exposes” sometimes. In his December 22, 2007 column he writes about a Cordillera official who is reportedly selling Baguio ancestral lands.
Hah! If Tulfo’s story is true, we are totally clueless as to who this official is but maybe some of you know.
The earlier post on land grabbing in Baguio reminded me of Woody Guthrie’s song, This Land is Your Land. You can read more about the song at Rex Pe’s blog. You can also read more info on Woody Guthrie, one of my favorite singers, at woodyguthrie.org.
Well, maybe not the biggest. There must be bigger land grabbers in Baguio. But it’s amazing how one who has “titles to parcels of land measuring 501 square meters and 10,300 square meters” was able to expand her land area to 672,364 square meters. Read Vincent Cabreza’s story here.
Too often, when the issue of land grabbing in Baguio comes up, it’s the small time land grabbers who get the blame. Maybe it’s because their style of land grabbing is very visible. You know, they just build a tiny house in a small parcel of land and claim it as their own.