After years of confusion as to who will represent the Dumagat-Remontados as the recognized IPO accepted by the tribal chieftains, elders (gemot) and community members in pursuing and securing their collective rights over their ancestral domains affected by the construction of the Sumag River Diversion Project (SRDP), the Pigtaanan Ne Dumaget-Remontado de General Nakar, Quezon Inc. (Pigtaanan Ne Dumaget-Remontado) was finally registered in November 2019 with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and was duly confirmed by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

The SEC and NCIP recognition gives juridical personality to the indigenous political leadership who led the community consensus and decision making processes that resulted to the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) for the SRDP.  However, the pursuit of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) collective identity took a very long time.   Under RA 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) , only the indigenous political structure of the ICCs, in the case of SRDP, the ICCs of Region 4A,  can receive the P20.0 Million Development Fund allotted by the MWSS/CPF for the IPs of the Municipality of General Nakar (MGN), Province of Quezon.

Deputy Administrator Leonor Cleofas, during the handing of the check to Pigtaanan Ne Dumaget-Remontado on 29 November 2019, had said. . . “this momentous event is a symbolism of years of cooperation between the IPs and the government”.  This is very true as shown by the cooperation between MWSS and the IPs in respect to the the community leadership systems, relationships, patterns and processes for decision making in securing the FPIC.

The 2015 Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) provided for the payment of P20.0 Million to fund the Ancestral Domain Development and Protection Plans (ADDPP).  The ADDPP is a translation of development justice among the IPs as they exercise their right to self-determination in charting their economic, political, social and spiritual well-being. The ADDPP also represent the results of genuine consultation and resolution of issues between the MWSS and the IPs.

The issue of the P20.0 million has been oft repeated during public consultations and dialogue with the Dumagat-Remontados on the FPIC for the Kaliwa Dam Project.  MWSS is thus thankful that the outstanding issues have been settled with the IPs of MGN.

The SRDP is one of the viable short- term solutions to the growing water supply demand gap in the MWSS service area.  It is also considered the cheapest additional water source option compared to the other envisioned projects such as Laiban River, Agos River, and Laguna Lake.

President Duterte has directed the MWSS to prioritize the implementation of SRDP in light of dwindling supply from Angat Dam and the delays in the construction of the Kaliwa Dam Project, a project that will reduce dependence on Angat Dam.