Higaonons in Bukidnon to receive CADT next week

Maria Shirlene Sario, NCIP provincial officer, said the CADT for the Higaonon tribe, covering at least 14,313 hectares will be awarded on May 15 in formal rites tentatively in the town's remote Hagpa village.

Amay Mantangkilan Cumatang, Higaonon head claimant, was scheduled to accept the ceremonial turnover of the CADT and the claim book from Sario and other officials, according to a copy of the programme given to MindaNews.

The Higaonons become the fourth tribe awarded with a CADT and the seventh issued with a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim in Bukidnon, Sario said.

The claim book said the tribe traces its claim to the area way back to the 15th century.

She said the tribe has a population of 2,142  in 13 villages in Impasug-ong town, with 658 or at least 30 percent non-IP.

Sario said in initial discussions that the tribe has planned to focus on forest  protection, reforestation and improvement of their non-timber industries such as abaca, fruits and vegetable.

The tribe has been a major producer of hinabol, a textile woven from Abaca fiber. A big portion of the hinabol produced by the tribe is exported, Sario said.

She said one of the advantages of the tribe was that their training to culture abaca for propagation, one way to solve a supply problem brought by a fiber disease.

Sinibug, a wine from sugarcane produced locally, is another potential and lucrative product of the tribe, she said. The tribe has reportedly mastered a technique to preserve the wine.

Bukidnon Gov. Jose Ma. R. Zubiri, Jr. and other local and national government officials were expected to attend the awarding ceremonies.

The title covers indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples in the villages of Mintapod, Kiudto, Lonson, Tug-unganon, Bontongon, Lamingan, Kabagtukan, Pulahon, Naabat, Hagpa barangay proper, Paculab and Mahagwa of Barangay Kalabugao in Impasugon town. It also covers portion of Amosig village in Barangay San Luis, Malitbog town. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)