(Photo courtesy of NCIP-Nueva Vizcaya)

By Villamor Visaya Jr., Philippine News Agency stringer and Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent

ARITAO, Nueva Vizcaya – The Isinai indigenous people here finally got their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) covering more than 11,000 hectares after almost 15 years of waiting.

The approved CADT has total a land area of 11,586.4091 hectares covering 16 barangays of Aritao town, a barangay of Dupax Del Sur town, and a portion of Barangay Mauan in Bambang town, all in Nueva Vizcaya, lawyer Roderick Iquin, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Nueva Vizcaya acting provincial officer told the Philippine News Agency on Friday.

NCIP chair Allen Capuyan and other commissioners, in a full-court session, earlier deliberated and approved the title with 20 Isinai leaders led by head petitioner Edgar Llowelyn Daniel.

“With the undying vision of the community, the waiting is over and the journey has just begun for the Isinai indigenous cultural communities of Aritao in Nueva Vizcaya. Their grassroot struggles and sacrifices were significantly paid off as they will celebrate the spirit of Christmas with gratitude in their hearts,” Iquin added.

Isinai elder Krussela Abiva has been ecstatic with the approval of their title after a long time.

“At last, we got ours,” she said, recalling their journey in fighting for their rights to ancestral domain and the collective effort undertaken to turn this dream into reality.

The Isinais directly filed their CADT application on Jan. 6, 2007 and was approved on December 16.

The project involves PHP904,560 with 2,255 ancestral domain rights holders.

Iquin added that based on gathered documents, the Isinais have been first seen roaming Aritao and until now, “they have a unique culture of their own”. (PNA)