The Integrated Natural Resources and Environmental Management Project (INREMP) is an eight-year project of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and is funded by international funding institutions such as the Asian Development Bank, Climate Change Fund, and Global Environment Facility. The main objectives of the project are to rehabilitate the denuded watershed areas of the four selected river basins in the Philippines and to improve the quality of life of rural communities residing within those river basins. Partnerships with people's organizations were formalized to manage their ancestral domains and timberland areas effectively.
One subproject of INREMP is the Community-Based Protection and Monitoring (CBPM). Anchored on community aspirations, customary law, ancestral domain sustainable development plan, and forest protection plan, CBPM has been implemented since late 2019.
The main idea of CBPM is positive reciprocity: incentives are provided to the indigenous people through alternative sources of income such as vegetable gardening, cut flower production, heritage site conservation, and eco-cultural tourism. In return, they help protect the natural forest that provides them vast amount of ecosystem goods and services. Moreover, capability building, such as training in project operations and financial management under the Livelihood and Enterprise Development (LED) program, is provided to the forest guard volunteers, who regularly monitor and report on any environmental threats to their respective areas using the Landscape and Wildlife Indicator (LAWIN).
In Bukidnon Upper River Basin (BURB), which is one of INREMP’s pilot river basins, CBPM is implemented in 16,188-hectare natural forests or protected areas in which nine indigenous people’s organizations (IPOs) have been tapped by the project for intensified forest protection and development.
These IPOs enhance their heritage sites using natural processes and tools to maintain the natural ambiance. They help educate eco-cultural tourists on the dos and don'ts of the protected areas and the rich culture of Bukidnon indigenous tribes.
In 2020, they started to realize gains from livelihoods they engaged in as revenues started to trickle in, although not yet at the optimal level as the pandemic has set most of the critical activities back. (INREMP/ Jayson M. Ligtas)