November 30, 2013. University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City. The aid drive for Coron Island mounted by the Koalisyon ng mga Katutubo at Samahan ng Pilipinas (National Coalition of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines) gathered more support after participants of the 1st Climate Change Adaptation Learning Highway (ALH) Conference held from November 24-29, 2013, endorsed the coalition’s relief drive for victims of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. The ALH conference was organized by the Asian Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP) and KASAPI with backing from the Philippine Association for Inter-Cultural Development (PAFID) and the Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF). It was held with support from MISEREOR, the German Catholic Bishop’s Organization for Development Cooperation. Apart from KALAHAN indigenous leaders sharing their experience on traditional adapttion practices, key resource persons include Dr. Kristofferson Berse of the Office of the University of the Philippines Office of the Vice-President for Public Affairs and Ms. Floradema Eleazar of the GEF-UNDP New Conservation Areas Philippines Project (NewCAPP). The former is a disaster risk management expert specializing on climate-smart risk management while the latter is Chief Technical Adviser of the UNDP-GEF project on Expanding and Diversifying the National System of Terrestrial Protected Areas in the Philippines (EDNSTPAP) also known as NewCAPP.
In a statement issued here, major indigenous peoples organizations (IPOs) coming from seven Asian countries including Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Nagaland, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines said, “little has been heard of the terrible destruction that typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda wrought on indigenous communities”. Earlier, Dr. Francis Richard Dorall, a world-renowned Geographer endorsed KASAPI’s appeal and aid drive after Coron Island was cut-off from the outside world. These included two appeals read and circulated at the Warsaw Climate Change Conference on November 12 and 16, 2013 through the AIPP.
The AIPP is an organization of indigenous peoples movements in Asia and an NGO in special consultative status with the UN Economic and Social Council. It has concrete working partnerships with major national and regional indigenous peoples networks in the Philippines.
In the aftermath of typhoon Yolanda, Indigenous Peoples Organizations (IPOs) and Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) moved in with a flurry of aid relief. These include the Kalipunan ng Mamamayang Katutubo sa Pilipinas (KAMP) or National Alliance of Indigenous Organizations in the Philippines, BALSA-Mindanao, Rural Missionaries in the Philippines, Philippine Association for Inter-Cultural Development (PAFID) and the Sambdhana Institute. Christian Aid came in through the Alyansa Tigil Mina (Alliance to Stop Mining). Donors such as the International Work Group on Indigenous Affairs (IWGIA) have thrown in their support.
In earlier press statements, KASAPI said its aid transparency policy includes identity of source of donations, amount donated, use of donations, description of goods and name of recipient of donations and relief goods to be published in websites and other means accessible to the public.
The Asian participants affirmed that “for millennia the indigenous Tagbanuas of Coron Island have played a critical role in conserving land and sea environment through customary laws and traditional governing systems and that management plans based on such systems were the result of working with KASAPI and the Philippine Association for Inter-Cultural Development (PAFID)”.
As an important step for the promotion and protection of indigenous peoples rights to govern their traditional territories, the participants resolved to “endorse KASAPI with whom we have trust to determine immediate rehabilitation needs not only in Coron Island but in surrounding islands of the Calamian Islands”. The participants earlier made a cross site visit in one of KASAPI’s climate change adaptation project site in a Kalahan ancestral domain in the Caraballo Mountain Range of Nueva Viscaya from November 24-27, 2013.
Since 2010, KASAPI has identified 197 traditionally conserved areas with Banuang Daan and Cabugao of Coron Islands; Maporac, Cabangan, Zambales; Banawen, San Felipe, Zambales; Portulin, Pangantukan, Bukidnon; Balmar, Kalatungan, Bukidnon; Sibuyan Island, Romblon; Maasin, Quezon, Palawan; San Toribio, Esperanza, Agusan del Sur as the first wave of documented and mapped Indigenous Community Conserved Areas (ICCAs). KASAPI is currently preparing an initial schedule to mount rehabilitation planning activities with its member organization in Coron Island.
Giovanni B. Reyes
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