Fresh from securing their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) during the early part of 2018, the Magbukun Ayta Indigenous People (IP) of Sitio Kanawan, Barangay Binaritan in Morong, Bataan declared portions of their recently awarded territory as indigenous communities conserved areas and territories (ICCAs).
The ICCA Declaration was part of the IP group’s bid to protect important cultural and biological sites within their ancestral domain from destruction and degradation by designating them as ICCAs. The Magbukun Ayta IP’s ICCA is estimated to cover approximately 6,600 hectares of land, or more than half of their CADT.
“We’ve seen an increase in encroachment and illegal settlement from outsiders in recent years. This ICCA declaration is one of the ways we’re pursuing to address the issue and to protect the environment from further damage,” Rodelio Tamundog, chieftain of Magbukun Ayta, said.
By building alliances with neighboring communities, relevant government agencies, local government units, and local organizations, and leveraging their support, the Magbukun Aytas aim not only to preserve their way of life but also to protect the environment and conserve local biological diversity.
The Magbukun IP planned to register their conserved area in the global ICCA Registry, which is hosted by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge, United Kingdom, and in the Philippine ICCA Registry.
The official declaration was attended by the officials of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)-Philippines, and other partner civil society organizations. The event was held in time of the start of celebration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month, which is October of every year.
The Philippine ICCA Project and the Subic Indigenous Peoples Assistance Group (SIPAG) assisted the Magbukun IP in conducting a range of activities comprising boundary delineation, 3D and digital mapping, resource inventory, and indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices (IKSP) documentation, among others. (Philippine ICCA Project/ Garie Rigor)