Tag Archives: indigenous peoples.

Pygmy forest, waterfalls, sunrise, and a lighthouse in Davao Oriental

BusinessWorld Online
Carmelito Q. Francisco
November 27, 2014

DAVAO ORIENTAL, one of the four provinces in the Davao Region, was recently in the news as its Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary made it to the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The 6,834-hectare mountain range, home to a centuries-old pygmy forest and rare flora and fauna, is now being developed by the local government as one of the four priority eco-tourism sites.

The other three are the Aliwagwag Protected Landscape, Pusan Point, and Cape San Agustin.

“We are also identifying the tourism potentials of each town,” said Governor Corazon N. Malanyaon, who initiated the Mt. Hamiguitan UNESCO Heritage list application in 2007.

The province has 10 towns and one city, Mati, which is also the capital.

For Mt. Hamiguitan, the provincial government has already secured P20 million in funding from the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority for the establishment of facilities within the three-hectare buffer zone at the foot of the mountain.

Restricted access will be maintained at the heritage site itself, which is one of the few remaining habitats of the endangered Philippine Eagle.

Janet M. Lopoz, executive director of the Mindanao Development Authority, said funding has also been set for the development of the Aliwagwag Protected Landscape, whose main features are a waterfall and forest areas that attract at least 64 bird species.

Pusan Point, meanwhile, is in the area of Caraga which the weather bureau identified as the first to witness the so-called Millennium Sunrise on Jan. 1, 2000.

Ms. Malanyaon said that the provincial government, with the help of the Department of Public Works and Highways, has been developing the road going to the viewpoint area at the eastern side of Mindanao island.

Cape San Agustin, home to the oldest known lighthouse in Mindanao, is located at the tip of Governor Generoso town and considered a historical site — Saint Francis Xavier is said to have held mass there in 1550.

In recent years, Mati City has also become a popular beach destination, particularly for surfing.

“We have become among the most visited provinces in the country,” Ms. Malanyaon said.

The province also holds the distinction of being the first local government unit in the country whose tourism master plan was mandated by a law for inclusion in the Department of Tourism’s national tourism plan.

On Nov. 7, The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)-Forest Management Bureau and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) with the local governments of Davao Oriental and the municipalities of Caraga, Manay and Tarragona for the implementation of the REDD+ program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries).

Davao Oriental, the second site identified by the DENR for REDD+ activities, was chosen specifically because of the presence of indigenous peoples (IPs), who are considered guardians of the forests.

REDD+ is an international initiative aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the protection of forests, including tree planting activities and proper land use planning, also to protect the rights of forest dwellers.

The MoA, signed as part of the celebration for the Philippines-Germany 60 years of diplomatic relations, aims to strengthen coordination between the national and local government units on forest protection and sustainable forest management by, among others, reducing shifting cultivation and timber poaching, in support of the National Greening Program.

MRDP to revive critical watersheds in Mindanao

The Philippine Star
By Sherwin B. Manual
March 13, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Agriculture (DA) is rehabilitating major watersheds critical to the effort to boost food production in Mindanao.

The Mindanao Rural Development Prog-ram (MRDP), the DA’s flagship poverty alleviation program, is implementing on-the ground investments to salvage the degrading natural resources in Mindanao, particularly watershed.

Program director Lealyn A. Ramos said these watersheds have great agricultural potentials but are now less productive since they have been overly exploited and misused.

“Watershed sustains life form of plants, animals and human. And aside from providing water, it’s also the source of fiber, food, medicine and livelihoods but most of our watersheds are exploited beyond their capacity,” Ramos added.

To program is implementing environmental projects in 12 critical watersheds in all of the six regions in Mindanao.

These watersheds include RT Lim and Tungawan, Zamboanga Sibugay in Region 9; Linamon, Lanao del Norte and Sogbongcogon, Misamis Oriental in Region 10; Don Marcelino, Davao del Sur and San Isidro, Davao Oriental in Region 11; Kalamansig, Sultan Kudarat and Malapatan, Sarangani Province in Region 12; Nasipit, Agusan del Norte and Gigaquit, Surigao del Norte in Caraga Region and  Datu Odin Sinsuat, Maguindanao and Kapatagan, Lanao del Sur in Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).

“The sites were selected based certain criteria but most especially the interconnectivity of the upland, the lowland and the coastal areas,” Ramos said.

The program allocates a total of P7 million for each town beneficiary.

The projects implemented are agro-reforestation, river bank stabilization, mangrove rehabilitation, establishment of marine protected area, fish sanctuary and fishery reserves and coral restoration.

Ridge to reef

With focus on Mt. Hamiguitan in San Isidro, Davao Oriental watershed, the ridge-to-reef landscape is expected to nurture more diverse flora and fauna as the local government and MRPD implement a 136-hectare watershed rehabilitation with rubber-based farming on hilly lands amounting to close to P5 million. While, P2 million were earmarked on the coastal areas projects which include 7.5-hectare mangrove rehabilitation and setting up of five hectares fish sanctuary and marine reserves.

The Mt. Hamiguitan mountain range and wild life sanctuary was declared protected area under RA 9303 of 2002. It is home to Mandaya tribe, the Philippine Eagle, important raw materials and some highly prized natural bonsai forming the popular “pygmy forest.”

About three communities in Linamon town have engaged in agroforestry conservation and ecotourism development for its 12 hectares forest cover which house the one of province’s tourist spot the Tinago Falls.

The town of Don Marcelino has completed its 200-hectare Nuvada Watershed reforestation and has another on-going project.

Similarly, RT Lim town has completed the 100-hectare reforestation activities.

The coastal community of Kalamansig is now rearing mangroves planted to its 20 hectares coastal area which is part of its P2 million mangrove rehabilitation project.

The 100-hectare agro-reforestation program in Nasipit, Agusan del Norte is now thriving and the community is seeing the promise of its fruit trees.

While ARMM has planted various fruit-bearing trees in 128-hectare area in the mountains of Datu Odin Sinusat town and mangroves in a 15-hectare coast line.

Holistic approach

“We aim to holistically arrest the environmental problem. We know that activities in the upland areas have downstream impact in the low land communities and the coastal areas,” said Ramos.

“We started to implement these projects in 2008 and most of these hard investments were reported to be complete but we need to wait for the full gestation period to really see the impacts of these,” Ramos said noting that the program and the LGU beneficiaries are positive about the initial results of their efforts.

The report of the Bureau of Water and Soils Management (BSWM) said that in these watersheds, the soils, land and water resources are overly exploited resulting to low productivity of various farm areas.

BSWM is one of the attached agencies of the Program tasked to undertake technical support for the program along with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR), and the National Commission on the Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

“With appropriate land use technology and farming systems we can revive the agricultural potential of these watersheds,” said Ramos, adding that:

“This (project) is in partnership with the LGUs. Aside from having direct helm of project implementation the vital role of the LGU is legislation the necessary ordinances to sustain and protect upland, lowland and coastal resources.”

Tampakan: a multi-billion dollar copper-gold project in Mindanao

By Joe Palabao
BusinessWeek Mindanao
October 11, 2010

GENERAL Santos City––With an estimated resource totaling to 2.4 billion metric tonnes at a grade of 0.6% copper and 0.2 grams per ton gold, the Tampakan deposit is one of the largest undeveloped copper-gold deposits in the Southeast Asia-Western Pacific region. Experts say the Tampakan mine has the potential to become the largest mine in the country, and the fifth largest copper mine in the world by 2016.

The multi-billion dollar project is being undertaken by the Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (SMI) which today holds a Financial and Technical Assistance Agreement (FTAA) with the Philippine government to explore and develop the project.

SMI operates the Tampakan Copper-Gold Project in Mindanao as a joint venture between Xstrata Copper, a global diversified mining group in London and Swiss stock exchanges acquiring (62.5%) share, Indophil Resources NL, an Australian-listed exploration company with (34.2%) share.

The project is expected to contribute USD37 Billion (PhP1.85 trillion) to the Philippine economy over the life of the mine. The project will have the potentials of creating more than 12,000 jobs during the mine construction and actual operation.

The Tampakan Mine Project is approximately 50 kilometers of north General Santos City and it straddles the boundaries of the four provinces of South Cotabato, Davao del Sur, Sultan Kudarat, and Saranggani.

The Project involves the development and operation of an open-pit mine and associated infrastructure within the proposed mine lease boundary.

A port, power station and filter plant to service the Tampakan Mine Project and a copper-gold concentrate pipeline system, electricity transmission line system and ancillary access roads connecting the Tampakan Mine with the port, power station and filter plant and a substation.

In a related development, the SMI will manage the Tampakan project with the aim at delivering industry-leading returns for their shareholders.

The project can be achieved through genuine partnerships with employees, customers, shareholders, which are based on integrity, co-operation, transparency and mutual value-creation.

To date the Project has benefited the host municipalities and surrounding communities in terms of employment, business development projects, taxes and fees.

In 2009, it has contributed PhP830.6 million to Mindanao economy through employment of more than 1,300 people and contractors, including a weekly average of 202 local community residents working on the project’s drilling, annual wages, local purchase of goods and services, power and fuel charges, community partnerships, sponsorships and donations.

SMI has also complied with the national regulatory framework for indigenous peoples (IPs) in respecting Indigenous Peoples Rights, and is committed to adopting the best available technologies and management practices on the natural environment and continues to demonstrate its commitment to corporate social responsibility by contributing to the social, economic and institutional development of the concerned communities being developed.