The NEDA MIMAROPA in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) MIMAROPA, conducted a mapshop of the Regional Technical Working Group (RTWG) on the Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR)-DENR-Land Registration Authority (LRA)-National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Joint Administrative Order (JAO) No. 01, s. 2012 on February 18-20 at the City Garden Suites Manila.

The mapshop was participated in by NCIP MIMAROPA Regional Director (RD) Roberto L. Almonte; DENR MIMAROPA Assistant RD Vicente B. Tuddao, Jr.; LRA Deputy Registrar of Deeds Atty. Ethel B. Regadio; BGen. Antonio R. Lastimoso of 203rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, Philippine Army; Mr. Rodne R. Galicha of Bayay Sibuyanon, Inc.; among others. Representatives and geographic information systems (GIS) specialist from DAR, DENR, NCIP, LRA, DILG, and local government units (LGUs) were also present.

The activity aimed to facilitate the exclusion/segregation of all land covered by titles for the issuance of certificate of non-overlap (CNO) in selected ancestral domain/ancestral land (AD/AL) survey plans.

In her welcome remarks, NEDA MIMAROPA OIC-RD Susan A. Sumbeling informed the members that as early as August 2018, the NEDA MIMAROPA has been requesting the four concerned agencies to present the status of their compliance to the JAO during Regional Land Use Committee (RLUC) meeting on September 06, 2019. She added that per agreement during the RTWG meeting held on September 23, 2019, the RTWG mapshop will be conducted to address the issues and concerns on overlapping titles. She hoped that the mapshop will serve as a venue to resolve issues and problems affecting DAR, DENR, LRA, and NCIP’s respective land title issuances.

Ms. Sheryll B. Sarabia, chief of the Policy Formulation and Planning Division of NEDA MIMAROPA presented the overview of the activity, summary of agreements and workshop mechanics during the RTWG meeting on September 23, 2019. She highlighted that the 17 priority ancestral domain/ancestral land survey plans selected for the mapshop were also included in the 69 priority areas of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC). Based on the assessment conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines through their community support program, the issues on land dispute/land grabbing of ancestral lands were used by the communist terrorist groups (CTGs) to exploit indigenous peoples and encourage them to join the CTGs.

On the summary of agreements during the meeting, actions taken by respective offices were presented by RD Almonte, of NCIP MIMAROPA, Engr. Ramon Legaspi of DENR MIMAROPA, Engr. Ruella De Leon of DAR MIMAROPA, and Atty. Regadio of LRA.

The participants were divided into three groups: a) Province of Romblon; b) Mindoro Island; and c) Province of Palawan and City of Puerto Princesa. Of the 17 priority AD/AL survey plans, 16 were plotted: a) three survey plans in Romblon; b) seven survey plans in Mindoro Island; c) six survey plans in Palawan.

Some of the issues and concerns raised during the mapshop include: a) difference in the geographic references used by the DENR and NCIP; b) absence of old control points in the AD/AL survey plans by NCIP MIMAROPA; c) certification of control points from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA); and d) non-availability of data on the certificate of ancestral domain title (CADT) being requested for segregation from DENR MIMAROPA.

To address the identified issues, the following agreements were forged: a) NCIP MIMAROPA shall provide all the maps, technical descriptions, and portions of field notes on the 17 Priority CADT areas; b) NCIP MIMAROPA shall ensure that at least three old control points are reflected in the AD/AL survey plans; c) DENR MIMAROPA shall provide the technical descriptions of the adjoining/adjacent areas on CADT survey plans without records; and d) DENR MIMAROPA shall provide the list of new control points with old control points equivalent.

 On the third day, Sarabia presented the summary of discussions and highlights of the mapshop. Other recommendations include: a) reactivation of provincial TWGs; b) submission of periodic reports by the R/PTWGs; and c) regular status updates on the processing of CADTs during RLUC meetings.

In his closing remarks, Director Almonte thanked all the participants for actively participating in mapshop, particularly DENR MIMAROPA for hosting the activity. He encouraged the participants, especially those who are new in the government service, to always put the interest of the marginalized people first in the performance of their respective mandates.