Bukidnon tribe’s agenda: from tribal hall, housing; drive vs. intrusion, illegal biz; to development projects
MALAYBALAY CITY (BukidnonNews.Net/15 July 2022) Improve your prioritization of the indigenous peoples, leaders from the Bukidnon tribe who participated in the Aspirations for Good Governance focused group discussions said when asked about “what issues the current administration of local and the national governments should pay attention to”.
The tribe’s concerns, based on the responses of their leaders, ranged from the construction of tribal halls or tulugan, tribal housing and infrastructure, issues of intrusion and illegal businesses in their ancestral domain, education, and projects concerning the implementation of their ancestral domain development plans.
Three of the indigenous people’s representatives who responded to the FGDs were from the Bukidnon Tribe, Bae Inatlawan Adelina Docenos Tarino, tribal chieftain of the Bukidnon Daraghuyan of Dalwangan, Datu Manhan-ayan Atty. Burt Estrada and Datu Balignae Virgilio Namoc of the Bukidnon Tagoloanon.
Tarino, in her responses to the FGD, has sought for prioritization of the welfare of the indigenous peoples in general. One of her main concerns is what she called “unclear processes” especially in the processing of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADT).
She said there must be clearer policies on CADT application, priority for CADT processing, and strong harmonization of policies between the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, and the Department of Interior and Local Government.
The Bukidnon Daraghuyan has obtained a CADT for 4,205.07 hectares of land as approved by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples in 2009 and subsequently awarded in 2014.
Tarino, however, said 13 years after the approval and eight years after the award of the title during Bukidnon’s centennial celebration in 2014, the tribe still has no security of their ancestral domain.
Earlier this year, she sought for intervention from the Protected Area Management Board of Mt. Kitanglad for reported intrusion of certain claimants, who are transacting with an agricultural plantation firm in their ancestral domain. Tarino was reported to have received harassment from a certain party who claims ownership to a portion of their CADT. Up to this date, the CADT has yet to be registered before the Land Registration Authority.
The tribe’s other concern is the implementation of a tribal housing project.
The National Housing Authority, the City Government of Malaybalay, and the tribe have signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) last year for the construction of the P20- million Daraghuyan Tribal Village inside the Daraghuyan Tribe Ancestral Domain area.
The NHA will download the grant to the Local Government Unit of Malaybalay as the implementing agency of the project, which was conceptualized since 2016.
The NHA handed over the first tranche worth P15 million to the City Government under then Mayor Florencio T. Flores, Jr. for the Daraghuyan Tribal Village Indigenous People (IP) Housing Project on June 9, 2021, according to malaybalaycity.gov.ph.
But the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, which has assisted the tribe in the project, said as of this date not one house has been built yet. There is also information that the number of units could be cut from 80 to 60 due to an increase of the cost. There is also a reported adjustment in construction scheme, from construction by administration to bidding.
Another issue is the poor road condition to the community, which is needed in the construction and the eventual function of the housing project. Tarino said there is a need to build tribal housing projects with other communities.
Stakeholders of the project are calling for social accounting among project implementers on the delay and perceived adjustments of project implementation.
Tarino has also cited the problem of a promised construction of a tribal hall or tulugan, which due to opposition from a certain party, will no longer push through.
She told BukidnonNews.Net a tribal hall is a structure used by the IPs for meetings, training, seminars, social gatherings, and rituals. She added that the tribal hall is an important venue to discuss their situation and welfare, and the practice of their culture.
She hoped that their government partner would still pursue the project.
“Sincere governance doesn't make people expect some projects without planning to realize it,” she added.
She said there is a need to allocate more budget to build roads and other infrastructure for IP communities.
Ma. Easterluna Canoy, of the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, who has worked with the Bukidnon Daraghuyan and other ICCs in the Kitanglad, Kalatungan, and Pantaron mountain ranges, have called for incentives or rewards for IP elders, or tribal seniors who risked their lives in protecting the forests. She said while the IP leaders, tribal seniors, and youth, help save protect the forest, they don't receive any form of renumeration or social security.
She has also called for IP governance in forest landscapes and the protection of the IPs against the encroachment of private investors in their ancestral territories.
Datu Manhan-ayan Atty. Burt M. Estrada, of the Bukidnon Tagoloanon tribe and President of the Bukidnon Tagoloanon Mulahay Hu Kabukalagan Agricultural Cooperative (BUKTAMACO) has pushed for the implementation of development projects among the indigenous peoples’ or Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP).
He said there is a need to help IPs create industries and develop tourism among ancestral domain holders. He said the government should also help farmers be productive and profitable.
He said the government should help IPs engage in business and provide support to jumpstart industries. There is also a need to organize farmers into strong cooperatives and provide subsidies, shared facilities and access to soft loans or non-interest or low interest bearing loans. He said there is a need to have a strong campaign for tourism and involve CADT holders as partners.
“In tourism, there is so much potential, especially if we partner well with CADT holders. We have not been able to tap into our unique natural resources,” he added.
Estrada said, instead authorities have allowed “tourist” destinations to operate illegally.
While CADT holders, he said, should build and promote tourism within ancestral domains, there is a need to regulate tourism activities and enforce laws and ordinance to ensure only registered and legitimate businesses operate.
He also called for the strengthening of forest protection efforts.
“Train and hire more forest guards to augment the manpower of DENR. Enable CADT holders by providing financial support for them to also patrol and protect their domains,” he added.
Datu Balignae Virgilio Namoc, also of the Bukidnon Tagoloanon who attended the March 19, 2022 virtual conduct of the focused group discussion for Malaybalay organizations, said there is a need to uplift the economic status of the IPs within the ancestral Domain.
He said there is a need to address the “high poverty incidence” among the IPs.
He said there should be a poverty alleviation program using the lens of the ADSDPP, to be composed of a collaboration of the different government agencies in the implementation of the plans and programs of the tribe.
He underscored the problem of unauthorized intrusion in their ancestral domain and the need to observe free and prior informed consent (FPIC).
Jon Bolongaita, IP Youth Representative to the FGDs, also raised the issue of the exploitation and recruitment of IP youth as child combatants in the armed struggle of the CPP-NPA.
He also cited that some IP youth have difficulty getting admitted to college because of standardized entrance examinations.
“(There should be) special consideration on the college entrance exam or the exam must have a translation to IP dialects,” he added.
He said there should be more accessible and free secondary and tertiary education for IP youth.
He noted, however, that the indigenous cultural communities should orient and educate their youth about their customs and traditions. (BukidnonNews.Net)
This story was published with support from Internews Philippines.
IN PHOTO. Bae Inatlawan Adelina Docenos Tarino (in white boots) and another villager help a motorcycle driver navigate the boulder-ridden road from Brgy. Dalwangan proper to the tribe's heritage center in Sitio Olanguhon in this photo grab from a video clip taken by Kitanglad Integrared NGO's Ma. Easterluna Canoy.