MACO, DAVAO DE ORO (APRIL 6, 2021) — The indigenous cultural communities of Tagum living along the banks of the Hijo River will be receiving royalty fees from quarry operators as a tripartite agreement governing this latest development was inked.
This agreement, strongly supported by the City Government of Tagum, facilitates the royalty payment to the Indigenous Cultural Communities through a recognized organization for a period of 25 years, and is considered to be a landmark act that formally recognizes the rights of the indigenous cultural communities over their ancestral domain.
Under the agreement, a total of 17 legitimate entities with commercial sand and gravel permit agree to pay a fixed amount of 200 pesos per truckload and 50 pesos for a mini dump truck to the organization composed of the tribal communities of both Davao de Oro and Davao del Norte that dwell along Hijo River who formed themselves as the Kagan-Tipanud Institutionalization Program Operation and Networking (KATIPON).
In the case of Tagum, the indigenous cultural communities of Madaum, Magugpo East, Apokon, Magdum and Pandapan also formed themselves into an association, which will receive the 30% share of the monthly collection paid by the quarry operators to KATIPON.
The 30% share will be utilized by the cultural communities to fund their association’s various programs focused on capacity, cultural, economic and social development programs and projects, respectively.
Davao de Oro tribes will get the lion’s share of the royalty fees since their territory was recognized by the state as an ancestral domain. Despite this, the tribal leaders of Tagum expressed gratitude to their counterparts in Davao de Oro for integrating them in this landmark development by making them as co-managers of the Hijo River.
Signing the agreement on behalf of the Tagum tribes was Datu Erick Perez of Barangay Apokon.
This major development was a product of extensive years of lobbying by the leaders of the tribal communities in both Davao de Oro and Tagum City with the assistance coming from the local governments and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
The Hijo River has long ties with the history of both Tagum and Maco, with its riverbanks being the dwelling sites of tribal communities. (Louie Lapat/CHCO)
Datu Erick Perez, representing the indigenous cultural communities of Tagum, signs the memorandum of agreement formalizing the royalty fees to be paid by quarry operators in Hijo River. Louie Lapat/CHCO