Bukidnon receives Asian Development Bank watershed management grant

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BUKIDNON NEWS | BUKIDNON ONLINE | MOUNT KITANGLAD RANGE NATURAL PARK – The Province of Bukidnon is the grantee of a $1.43 million project related to sustainable watershed management. Bukidnon is set to receive the $1.43 million financial grant from the Asian Development Bank.

The project will be financed by the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction and will be administered by the Asian Development Bank. The project will begin on March 2011 and will last until June 2013. Although the amount is considered a grant, the Philippine government is still expected to shoulder at least $130,000.

According to the Asian Development Bank, the technical assistance will provide training on watershed management, agro-forestry and business development.

An Asian Development Bank report said: “Collectively, the watersheds that support the forest ecosystems in the upper river basins (URBs) occupy almost half of the country’s total land area and are home to one in four Filipinos. These watersheds provide essential products and services that benefit society, including water, soil, pasture, fuelwood, timber, and non-timber forest products.”

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  • This is again a develoment project designed in order to address poverty and environmental issues in the province of Bukidnon.
    But it must be properly understood that Bukidnon is a Native Titled territory of the indigenous peoples. In 1998, the ADB has developed a policy that aimed to protect and promote the rights of the indigenous peoples over projects it is supporting. This project therefore must be treated well so that it won’t turn into a “development aggression”. Aside from the IPRA law, as well as the UNDRIP, the ADB must be serious in implementing its policies that aimed to recognize, protect and prmote the rights of the indigenous peoples before this multi-million project takes-off in the native titled territories of the Talaandig, Higaonon, Bukidnon, Manobo and other tribes in Bukidnon.

  • This financial grant of Asian Development Bank amounting $1.43 million for Bukidnon sustainable watershed management around Mt. Kitanglad was designed to address environmental issues in Bukidnon. But this project cannot be successful on its implementation without considering the rights of the indigenous peoples as rightful bearer of native title which legally protected under IPRA law and other international law such as UNDRIP. Under this legal mandate ADB was required to develop policies that aimed to protect and promote the rights of indigenous peoples over projects which they supported. Before the project will take-off ADB and Local Government units must required to comply the Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC) as legal and international mandate under R.A. 8371 and UNDRIP as safetynet against development aggression. Recently, Global South review policy searching for just solutions to the climate crisis is one of the pressing global challenge. As advocate and defender of the rights of the indigenous peoples we do hope that this project will support the call for Climate Justice Now! We call the attention of ADB and Local government to comply FPIC requirement as policies observed by this institution prior to the implementation of the project.

    Anilaw Inlantong
    Defender of Indigenous Peoples Rights
    Tulugan, Sungco, Lantapan Bukidnon

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