‘We can’t even fish’: Palawan tribal leader pushes back vs Ayala Land’s El Nido dev’t

The leader of the Tagbanuwa Tandulanen indigenous tribe in Palawan has spoken up against Ayala Land, Inc.’s construction of a sprawling tourism estate in El Nido, which supposedly encroaches on ancestral domain.
In a statement, Maharani Apo Remedios Cabate-Cabral said his tribe is determined to fight for what is rightfully its own.
“Our elders from the Tagbanuwa Tandulanen IP merely want what is due to our people – the right to be recognized as the guardian and custodian for future generations of our ancestral lands… Unfortunately, due to increased public interest in Palawan, our tribe’s ancestral lands in El Nido have been adversely affected by the influx of tourists and businessmen,” the IP leader said.
Cabate-Cabral said Ayala Land’s construction of Lio estate in El Nido has negatively affected the lives of Tagbanuwa Tandulanen tribespeople.
“How these big businesses like TKPI/ Ayala Group amass a huge area of land in El Nido for their own commercial purpose have gravely affected our tribe’s way of life to the point that we cannot even fish in our own traditional fishing grounds,” he said.
“If we continue to allow this, then very soon our tribe would be squatters in their own ancestral lands,” Cabate-Cabral added.
The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) recently issued a cease and desist order against Ayala Land’s Ten Knots Phils. Inc. (TKPI) over Lio’s development.
The Ayalas earlier insisted that they have all the necessary papers and consent from the IP tribe when they built the Lio property, which has become a luxury tourist destination managed by its subsidiary, Top Knots Philippines, Inc.
“If TKPI/Ayala Group claims that it engages in corporate social responsibility projects, then it should have earlier on secured the consent of our elders as mandated by law,” Cabate-Cabral said.

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