Who cares about the IPs ancestral domain?-A A +A
Bahin sang Bubay
Sunday, August 18, 2013
LET’S face it. It will take us another century, if ever, to be able to see the verdant past that we have allowed big logging interests to wantonly ruin in a matter of days. If one wants to see huge trees nowadays, there might still be some areas in Mindanao where forests are still intact. The reality is we can only behold such kind of trees in books or the internet.
It is good to know, however, that in some parts of Mindanao, there have been efforts to recover the lost glory of the rain forests. I have not gone through one in my lifetime, but I hope my wonderful grandson baby Liam would one day be able to climb up trees and experience the incomparable fun of being up a tree.
That is why much effort is being done by Liam’s “Tatay” who is currently the Rain-forestation Coordinator of the Foundation for Philippine Environment (FPE) in the Subanen and Higaonon Ancestral Domains in some parts of Bukidnon and Zamboanga areas, working with the Indigenous Peoples in trying to rehabilitate the forests. Largely involved in these efforts are the AnthroWatch, which is the main proponent of this project entitled “Consolidating Indigenous Peoples Forest Corridors through Sustainable Ancestral Domain Management (CIPFC-SADM).”
Aside from FPE, there are other organizations supporting this effort which is also funded by the European Union and another one.
In a chance meeting that I had with some forest coordinators who recently visited Davao City, I have heard from them some good things to hope for, which include among others, the continuing “wildlings” collection the IPs have been doing from the forest of which they are going to prepare as seedlings that will be planted to their Ancestral Domains.
It is good to know that the IPs are directly involved in planting trees and learning about the efforts of other partners and support groups to help the communities in this project. Some of the problems though that the project encounters include the snail-pace of government line agencies in responding to their needs, specifically in relation to the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT).
This particular problem though is not only experienced by the IPs in this area but all throughout Mindanao. The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as the special arm of government that should address the concerns of our IPs and must now take heed.
So much of our natural resources have gone to waste because of government neglect. Unless the government sincerely does its job in assisting our Indigenous Peoples, it might not be long before things will get out of hand.
Published in the Sun.Star Davao newspaper on August 19, 2013.