A "CONSULTATION with Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) for Mt. Apo Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center (MAWRCC)" brought together various stakeholders on Tuesday morning, November 14.
Mindanao Development Authority (MinDa) Chairperson Maria Belen S. Acosta highlighted the progress in implementing MAWRCC, noting bills in the House of Representatives (House Bill No. 7430 by Representative Rudy S. Caoagdan) and the Senate (Senate Bill No. 2227 by Senator Cynthia A. Villar).
“This project will not be possible without the hard work and enthusiasm that all involved have demonstrated since day one,” Acosta said.
Acosta cited the collective effort for the project's advancement and recognized the valuable input of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) residing along Mt. Apo.
She urged IP leaders to share their insights, opinions, and aspirations for community and environmental improvement.
The MAWRCC, slated to serve as an animal rescue center, conservation and breeding facility, educational hub, and research center, will play a vital role in protecting the region's vulnerable wildlife.
Atty. Geroncio R. Aguio, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples-Davao Region regional director, expressed gratitude for IP involvement, emphasizing its importance for program sustainability.
NCIP-Soccsksargen regional director Jeanne Anne M. Zoilo pledged full support, emphasizing the key role of communication in aligning government and IP laws.
Shirley Uy, Mt. Apo Natural Park-Protected Area Superintendent (MANP PASu) for Soccsksargen, highlighted the consultation's objective: actively incorporating IP voices into the conservation initiative.
“The Mt. App Wildlife Rescue and Conservation Center is not just a project, it is a commitment to the preservation of our environment and the diverse flora and fauna that call Mt. Apo a home,” Uy said.
MinDA director Joey E. Recimilla underscored the significance of generated documents from the consultation for senate understanding.
He assured prompt hearings once the documents are complete and budget approved, expediting MAWRCC construction for the protection of threatened species in Mt. Apo.
During the consultation, stakeholders signed a Commitment of Support, affirming their full endorsement of MAWRCC establishment.
Preceding the IP consultation, MinDa conducted an advocacy campaign, coordination, and networking on June 21, 2022, at the Acacia Hotel. RGP