NGOs and IP leaders talked about environmental issues and IP concerns in Mindanao last Friday, April 15 at the Ateneo de Davao University sponsored by the Foundation for the Philippine Environment (FPE).

The roundtable conversation was facilitated by Dr. Rosalinda C. Tomas together with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), National Government Organizations, National Commission on Indigenous People (NCIP), IP leaders and other participants.

The conversation highlights the concerns and voice of the Indigenous People, environmental issues, peace negotiation and presentation of research and recommendations.

It was started with a brief presentation that highlights the background of FPE to the environment and to the IP communities as well.

Along with the conversation, Ms. Mags Maglana, commissioned researcher, presented the research project that shows the IPs rights and alarming concerns, environmental issues and the government’s support to the community.

Basically, the research output encourages the sectors to take charge of taking care of the environment and to present to them the programs and advocacies that would be beneficial to the IP community.

Dr. Pacencia P. Milan, FPE Chairperson, also gave an emphasis to their roles and objectives in protecting the biodiversity especially the Indigenous people and their rights. According to her, IP leaders and its members are part of our country and their concerns need to be heard.

Furthermore, Mr. Goofredo T. Villapando, Jr., FPE Executive Director, expounded the protective area and watershed that should be focused along with the IPs and the supports of the NGOs. He then opened up the rights of the IPs, which is in the law, “Indigenous Peoples’ Right Acts”.

The Academic Community also responded on the said research which is headed by Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ, President of the Ateneo de Davao University. Fr. Tabora said that the engagements and recommendations would be towards the concept of the common good and the methodology of moving forward together.

The event ended through an open forum which made the participants raised their questions and clarifications.

By: JC Labio, Ellen Torollo

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