Thursday, April 12, 2012

IP sacred sites should be protected -- ALAM

Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) Chairman Jerry Yap yesterday said indigenous community
should be conserved and protected if we want to protect ourselves.
He said Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Usec. Analiza
Rebuelta-Teh is right in holding a conference to map out a national strategy framework and
direction for the indeginous peoples (IPs) in the country.
He said IPs have long been neglected and indigenous rights have been violated. The areas
they occupy retain most precious biological resources and cultural richness, so they should be
protected not because government said so, but because that is what we must do.
He explained that taking care of these IPs means “preservation of biodiversity,
sustainable use of biodiversity and restoration whenever there is damage to ICCAs.
ALAM President Berteni Causing on his part said the last remaining forests in the country
are inhabited and managed by indigenous communities.
Causing said protecting the IPs is a cost effective and equitable way to protect
the remaining forests, the biodiversity and natural resources while supporting them in
strengthening their bond to their culture and tradition.
He added that DENR Usec Manuel Gerochi is right in saying that we can consider the
areas IPs occupy as sacred mountains and sacred lakes.
Their burial grounds and place of ritual are important to the culture and traditions
of IPs. They hold wide array of threatened plants and animals and provide stable ecosystem
services owing to the traditional conservation practices of IPs, he said.

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