Robredo tells Boracay’s Ati her gov’t will take care of smallest, farthest communities

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 16 2022 09:43 PM | Updated as of Feb 16 2022 11:16 PM

Vice President Leni Robredo visits the Ati Community at Sitio Lugutan, Brgy. Manocmanoc on Boracay Island on Feb. 16, 2022. Photo from the VP Leni Robredo's Facebook page.
Vice President Leni Robredo visits the Ati Community at Sitio Lugutan, Brgy. Manocmanoc on Boracay Island on Feb. 16, 2022. VP Leni Media handout

MANILA — Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday told the Ati tribe of Boracay island that if she wins the presidency in May’s elections, her government will take care of the smallest and most far-flung communities. 

Robredo noted the 200-strong tribe was among the last communities that her late husband Jesse visited as interior secretary before he died in a 2012 plane crash. He had assured the Ati they would not be evicted from their ancestral land even without a writ of possession, following reports of harassment.

“Ito po talaga ‘yung pangarap natin sa mga IP communities: na number one, masiguro na nakakatulog kayo gabi-gabi na panatag ‘yung kalooban na hindi kayo papaalisin, na araw araw tahimik ‘yung inyong pakiramdam, na ‘yung kinatitirikan ninyo ay walang pangamba, walang pangamba na kakamkamin ng iba,” the Vice President said in a visit to the Ati village. 

(This is our dream for the IP communities: number one, to ensure that you’ll sleep soundly every night with the assurance that you will not be evicted; that every day, you will not fear that your lands will be claimed by others.) 

Some claimants eye the Ati’s 2.1-hectare land for profit, said Robredo. 

“Ang hindi iniisip na ‘yung kultura niyo mas mahalaga pa sa kahit anong negosyo, na ‘yung inyong kultura… ‘yung pangangalaga dito ay bahagi ng ating pagiging Pilipino,” she said. 

(What some do not realize is that culture is more important than any business, that taking care of your culture is part of being Filipino.)

She said she wanted to encourage other indigenous communities to copy the Ati’s monthly general assembly because this is an avenue for government to address their needs. 

“Ang akin lang din na assurance sa inyo na ‘pag tayo po binigyan ng pagkakataon, gaano man kakaunti kayo, gaano man kalayo kayo, sisiguraduhin po natin na ‘yung ating gobyerno ay inaalagaan kayo,” said the presidential contender. 

(My assurance to you is if we are given a chance, no matter how few you are, no matter how far, we will ensure that our government will take care of you.) 

BORACAY DEV’T AUTUHORITY

Robredo earlier this month said if she wins the presidency, she will not sign the bill seeking the creation of the Boracay Island Development Authority (BIDA). 

“Any program or policy na walang maayos na konsultasyon, hindi natin pipirmahan kung tayo ang pangulo dahil napakahalaga sa proseso na nabibbigyan ng boses 'yung lahat na maaapektuhan ng kahit anong desisyon,” she said at a chance interview. 

(Any program or policy that lacks proper consultation, we will not sign if I become president because it is important for a process to give voice to those who will be affected by any decision.) 

She said those who oppose the BIDA argue that the local government should instead have jurisdiction on taxes and other issues. They are also against the construction of casinos in the holiday island, she said. 

“Nakikiusap tayo sa Congress na magbigay ng paraan para 'yung mga opposition ng mga taga dito ay mapakinggan,” said Robredo. 

(We ask Congress to find a way for the opposition of residents to be heard.)
 
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