Empowering our Tribal Communities and Indigenous People in the Philippines

Participants of the RTD. Photo by CRC.

Participants of the RTD. Photo by CRC.

 

CRC held a round table discussion on the theme, Empowering our Tribal Communities and Indigenous People in the Philippines at the University of Asia and the Pacific on August 9, 2014.

The Philippines has some 14 to 17 million Indigenous people who despite legislation that has tried to secure their ancestral lands continue to be bypassed by development. A third of these are to be found in the Cordilleras while the rest are in Mindanao. A big portion of their ancestral lands are arable, opening up windows of opportunity for agricultural entrepreneurs, leading to increased productivity, income and employment of our Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs). Given this background, the RTD served as venue to tackle problems and prospects, and recommendations for the uplift of our Indigenous Peoples (IPs) and development of their ancestral lands.

Dr. Jose Romero, Jr., a member of UA&P Board of Trustees, welcomed the guests to UA&P and gave an introduction, after which, the speakers, presented on various topics. Mr. Masli Quilaman, Director IV of the Office on Policy, Planning & Research of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIPs), gave an overview of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) in the Philippines. Atty. David Daoas, former Chairman of NCIP, spoke about “Problems and Prospects: IP Land Projects.” Atty. Joaquin San Diego, Dean of UA&P School of Law and Governance, tackled “A Citizen’s and Legal Practitioner’s Perspective.” Atty. Jeremy Gatdula, OpCom Secretary of UA&P School of Law and Governance, discussed “IP: A Consistent Legal Framework.” Amb. Jaime Bautista, member of the Philippine Ambassadors Foundation, Inc. (PAFI), gave a presentation on “Laws: Ancestral Land within Bangsamoro.”

Dr. Rolando Dy, Professor and Executive Director of UA&P Center for Food and Agribusiness, presented the Agribusiness Models for Countryside Development. Mr. Bienvenido Nito, Head of Social Economics Unit of UA&P School of Economics, spoke about “Preparation Component of IP Projects.” Dr. Ponciano Batugal, President and Board Chair of Farmers Community Development Foundation International, gave a talk on “Expanding the Food and Income Base of IPs.” Dr. Romero gave the synthesis and closing remarks.

An open forum followed the presentations, in which guests from different institutions and communities participated: Former Senator Heherson Alvarez, Mr. Manuel Datu Rebueno, Dr. Walter Brown of A. Brown Company, Mr. Jun David of POGE Development Corporation, Dr. Rene Gayo of MFI Foundation, Mr. Danny Venida and Jeff Jay Tabana of Foodlink Advocacy Cooperative, Ms. Tina Jose of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Mr. Ken Ramos of SMFI-AGRI, Mr. Javier Calero of UA&P, Mr. Patrick Pineda of Living Earth Design, Mr. Ramon Laconico of DELF, Mr. Jean Balenton of Balenton Corporation, Engr. Rollie De Roca, Mr. Aric Alvia of NAMFREL, Mr. Romy Sta. Ana of BAMBUSAPINAS and Mr. Chito Balintay of Pinatubo Ancestral Domain Organization.