A tribal chieftain on Tuesday slammed Rep.Ruwel Peter Gonzaga for lack of concern for the Indigenous People (IP) as the Davao de Oro 2nd District congressman is embroiled in a corruption scandal involving a P300M high-end inland resort built on ancestral doman land in New Barili, Maco town.
Wala namo gibati ang pag-amoma niya sa mga IP (We don’t feel his care and concern for the IP),” said Ivy Tamparong, tribal chieftain of New Barili.
In an interview aired Tuesday, March 29, in the program Mr. Simbal hosted by Pastor Alfonso Tabas Jr. om ZRadio 88.5 FM , Tamparong enumerated Gonzaga’s sins against the IPs as:
- Failure to first consult with the IPs on the development of the New Barili Mountain View Resort and buy-out of rights over parcels of ancestral domain land awarded to individual IP members.
- Shortchanging the IPs with a measly P1 million involving a memorandum agreement allowing Gonzaga rights over about 50 hetares of ancestrl domain.
- Reneging on his promise to hire local tribe members in the construction of the resort.
Tamparong told the Nabunturan, Davao de Oro-based FM radio station in the interview posted on Facebook, that Gonzaga bypassed the IPs from the start of the project by negotiating through New Barili barangay captain Omegs instead of the tribal council. Omega is said to have acted as the dealer in the buy-out of the IP members’ land.
Under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act , ancestral domain land may not be sold but lease or rent and development may be allowed with approval of the tribal council and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
We hold the title to the ancestral domain, so Gonzaga should have negotiated with the tribe, said Tamparong.
Tamparong said Gonzaga onlly approached the IP community after buying the rights to the land parcels involving ani nitial of from 30 to 50 hectares and with construction of the resort project already started.
The tribal leader said Gonzaga continues with his buying spree to lure the IP members to part with their land. Earlier reports said that Gonzaga already owns about 200 hectares of ancestral domain in New Barili.
Tamparong said Gonzaga was forced to meet with the IP of New Barili to ink an agreement after she complained about the resort.
At the signing of a memorandum of agreement , Tamparong said the IPs bargained for increase in the P1 million rent but Gonzaga was unmoved on his price. The IPs however squeezed a promise that the resort prioritze the hiring of IP workers .
Tamparong said Gonzaga’s resort has not hired any from the community, and also failed to make true his promise that he would build a Tribal Hall for the community.
“Nahulog sa wala; walay nakarga sa among hangyo (Nothing came out of our request),” said Tamparong.
Tamparong said that although they knew that Gonzaga is the lone owner of the resort, the congressman personally negotiated the memorandum of agareement between the IP community and himself, and a corporation a named 3P Corporation.
During the negotiation, sccording toTamparong, present were Gonzaga’s wife, Dorothy ans some relatives. Dorothy is a former associate justice of the Court of Appeals.