Court freezes withdrawal of P7.34-M Mamanwa tribes’ fund in Surigao del Norte banks

Judge Francisco F. Maclang of the Butuan City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 3 ordered Land Bank of the Philippines (LBP) Surigao City Branch and the Cantilan Bank of Claver, Surigao del Norte Branch to stop releasing the P7.34-million Mamanwa Tribes’ fund deposited in said banks.

The funds were under the account names of National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP) provincial officer Vicente Baldoza of Surigao del Norte, Mamanwa tribal Datu Reynante Buklas and Datu Alicio Patac.

Maclang also questioned during hearings earlier why private funds of the Mamanwa tribes were named in the account of a government agency, or personnel like Baldoza, or why he was named in the bank account when it was supposedly named to the Mamanwas.

The tribal funds ordered frozen formed part of the royalty payment paid by Taganito Mining Corp. (TMC) operating within the Mamanwa ancestral domain areas.

The court also ordered contesting or affected parties like Caraga Indigenous People’s Management and Development Corp., headed by Engr. Sergio Pascual, NCIP through Baldoza, Buklas and Patac, TMC to submit simultaneously memorandum until Monday, Oct. 18, to support their respective positions on the issue raised.

Caraga Indigenous People’s Management and Development Corp. (CIPMDC), headed by Engr. Sergio Pascual, filed before Ombudsman charges against NCIP regional director Jake Dumagan, Baldoza, other NCIP and Bureau of Mines and Geo-Sciences officials and personnel on the complaints raised by some Mamanwa tribes on the issue of mining royalty fees, allegedly violating both IPRA and Mining laws.

CIPMDC also filed breach of contract charges against Buklas and others before Maclang's sala late last year.

In 2008 Mamanwa tribal leaders Buklas and Datu Alfredo Olorico signed a memorandum of agreement with CIPMDC, headed by Pascual, for a management and consulting services.

The two tribal leaders, with the help of Pascual, filed several complaints against NCIP, mining firms including Bureau of Mines of why they only got P500,000 a year in royalty payment, representing the one percent from gross mining income as share of the lumads from mining operations in their ancestral lands.

Buklas and Olorico complained they were not fully aware of the P500,000 a year agreement as this was not fully explained to them even allegedly by the NCIP, which supposedly a government agency tasked to coordinate in protecting their rights as indigenous people.

Buklas parted ways with Pascual with only Olorico left continuing asking services and assistance, including financial, medical and other assistance from Pascual in pursuing cases against mining firms operating within Mamanwa ancestral domain.

Pascual and Olorico complained that Buklas group eventually sided with mining firms, thus receiving millions of pesos royalty fees and other assistance while Olorico received nothing.

PNA tried to reach or contact NCIP Caraga regional director Jake Dumagan to get his side through his mobile phone several times but to no avail.

PNA also tried to reach Baldoza and TMC but also to no avail. (PNA)RMA/Ben Serrano/rsm

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