MANILA, Philippines – There are changes in our society that we want to see; there are things that need attention to be at par with the needs of citizens, some just need tweaks and improvements to be more apt and convenient, and some can still be improved but are already useful for the society.
But for the case of IP communities and the long withstanding battle to institutionalize their rights and the ownership of their respective communities, the movement is just starting to reap fruits of the decades of work indigenous people and their allies have put to see the change they want to see if Philippine laws, policies, and even in cultural contexts.
In fact, RealTalk has previously reported about the stats of Philippines, its indigenous peoples, their communities, and policies relevant to their most pressing issues.
But in some cases where the government’s actions proved limited or slow, civil society organizations and other advocates do their part in working for the reforms and actual results they wanted to see, especially in this case, to the betterment of IP communities.
For one, the International Land Coalition has conducted a string of activities so far for the Dulangan Manobo of the town of Lebak, Sultan Kudarat and their ancestral domain.
The report created for the activites described that the area “covers a total of 25,000 hectares. It comprises thirteen (13) barangays. It is within the claimed domain where the operations of the controversial IFMA 20 and 22 are located. The people have, however, opposed the extension of the Company’s operation ad are now fighting harder against the renewal of the IFMA.”
“The municipality is located on the western portion of the Province of Sultan Kudarat, and bordered in the north by South Upi, Maguindanao; in the south by Kalamansig; in the west by Celebes Sea; in the east by Esperanza,” the report continued.
The report mentioned that the ILC has rolled out the following activities so far in line with the needs of the project:
- Community Consultations
- GPS Instrumentation Training/Orientation
- Perimeter Survey
- Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title Processing
- Participatory Community Mapping, and
- Coordination Visit to the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
You can read more about the activities and the project below:
Meanwhile, another project by ILC-Asia and the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development for the Miarayon, Lapoc, Lirongan, Tinaytayan Talaandig Tribal Association (MILALITTRA) and them having “control and management of ecosystems with the collaborative support of various stakeholders”.
The project report, entitled “Local and Collaborative Ecosystem Management in Kalatungan: The MILALITTRA – Payment for Ecosystems Services Experience” explained PES as follows: “Payment for Ecosystem Services or PES is considered as one of the mechanisms that provide opportunity for a society to “pay” for ecosystem services and wherein human dependence on these services is better understood.”
“Under this mechanism, the ecosystem services are not only maintained but the service providers themselves can also benefit in terms of economic, social, and cultural development,” the report continued.
You may see the full report below, but here are the summary recommendations made:
- Promote to other IP communities to consider PES as one of the mechanisms for local resource management strategies. The lessons of MILALITTRA PES which manifests local-management of resources have encouraged other IP communities in Kalatungan and other places to establish PES. Promoting and establishing PES mechanism to other IP communities could contribute to strengthening of the IP’s management of their ancestral domain.
- Review ES valuation and costing to consider the environmental, socio-economic and cultural benefits in a much wider and deeper perspective. The ES valuation used by MILALITTRA in pricing ES per hectare is based on the total cost of their 5-year community development plan divided by the number of hectares allocated for reforestation. While, this is not wrong, it would be good to know the contribution and impact of the ES services (i.e. water, flood control) to the lowland communities and economies in terms of money value.
- Further in-depth study of the sociological aspect of land and resource management of the indigenous peoples. The IP communities have their traditional practices in resource management that is closely link to their culture and belief. This may be seen by others as “un-scientific.” This was practiced by MILALITTRA in PES such as rituals and not planting seedlings with “bad luck”. There was also the previous farming practice of so-called “slash and burn” which environmentalists considered as destructive. The understanding of the IP’s history, culture and belief using a sociological view may help everyone connect conflicting views to further collaborative local resource governance.
- Sustain and further improve collaboration among major stakeholders and push further the private sector and corporations to increase support PES. What PES in MILALITTRA reflects is some sort of collaboration among various stakeholders. This gain can be pushed further to sustain and improve. MILALITTRA, with the support of support CSOs and PASu, may need to actively engage the private sectors and corporations who expressed interest to support PES. Information and advocacy materials on PES and reforestation will also help a lot in expanding the support from the buyers.
Note: This report is made with content support from the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development at http://angoc.org/ and the International Land Coalition-Philippines at http://ilc-nes.ph/. You may check out their social media accounts at https://www.facebook.com/AsianNGOCoalition/ and https://twitter.com/ANGOCorg.