Diliman, Quezon City – The Phil-ICCA (Philippine Indigenous Communities Conserved Areas and Territories) Project had held its 3rd and last National ICCA Conference on 8-11 July 2019 before it officially closed the following month.
The project reported that, in terms of accomplishment, it had exceeded its target of documented, declared, and registered ICCAs by more than 36% (accomplished 161,232.29 ha opposite project target of 118,848 ha). These ICCAs include terrestrial areas and ancestral water bodies.
The project successfully lobbied for an inclusion of ICCA provision in the ENIPAS Law, which states that, “Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and Indigenous Peoples (IPs) concerned shall have the responsibility to govern, maintain, develop, protect and conserve such areas in accordance to their indigenous knowledge, systems, practices and customary law with full and effective assistance from NCIP, DENR, and other concerned government agencies.”
During the conference, the proposed guidelines and procedures for the establishment of the Philippine ICCA Registry and the draft Philippine ICCA Bill were presented. In addition, the Philippine ICCA Working Group was formed and the Communications and Strategic Plan for the Lobbying and Advocacy of the ICCA Bill was worked out.
Among those in attendance were IP leaders from BUKLURAN and officials and staff of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR); the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP); the Housing and Land Regulatory Board (HLURB); the Philippine Association for Intercultural Development (PAFID); the Perpetual Education Fund (PEF); the Non-Timber Forest Products - Exchange Programme (NTFP-EP); the Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF); the Canadian Institute of Financial Planning (CIFP); the Asian NGO Coalition (ANGOC); the Forest Foundation of the Philippines (FFP); and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The offices of Senator Risa Hontiveros and House Representative Loren Legarda sent representatives. All were in one voice of supporting the institutionalization of ICCAs as sustainable addition to the national Protected Area estate. (Phil-ICCA/ Orange Omengan)