Nine indigenous peoples (IPs) in the Philippines recently declared their communities as “indigenous communities conserved territories and areas” or ICCAs.
The declaration formed part of the said IP communities’ bid to protect important cultural and biological sites within their ancestral domain from destruction and degradation. ICCA is one of the other effective area-based conservations measures (OECM) being promoted by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as an addition to the protected area system.
The nine IPs are the following:
- Ikalahan/ Kalanguya IPs of Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, and Pangasinan provinces
- Magbukun Ayta IP of Kanawan, Morong, Bataan
- Manobo IP of Bislig City, Surigao Del Sur
- Obu Manuvu IP of Magpet, North Cotabato
- Tongrayan IP of Tinglayan, Kalinga
- Agusan Manobo of Esperanza, Agusan Del Sur
- Kalanguya IPsof Tinoc, Ifugao
- Higaonon IP of Impasug-ong, Bukidnon
- Egongot IP of Dipaculao, Aurora
Communities of these nine IPs cover a total area of 113,238 hectares, representing 95% of the total number of hectares that the Philippine ICCA Project aims to push for recognition in the national PA estate. The Balabac IP in Palawan – the tenth site – is slated to have its ICCA declaration on April 10-11, 2019.
The process leading to the declaration could take more than a year as it involves gathering and recording required information such as the delineation of boundary, resource inventory, and indigenous knowledge, systems, and practices (IKSP).
With the declaration done, the IP communities plan to register their conserved area in the global ICCA Registry hosted by the UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) in Cambridge, United Kingdom. These ICCAs will be registered also at the National ICCA Registry upon its launch in 2019. (Philippine ICCA Project/ Garie Rigor)