MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/09 November) – Biodiversity is the theme of this year’s celebration of the three-day “Aldaw ta Kitanglad” (Mt. Kitanglad Day) which started Monday, in Barangay Kibenton of Impasugong town in Bukidnon.
The annual festival started in 1997, in Barangay La Fortuna of the same town. It aims to recognize the role of the indigenous peoples and communities surrounding the park in the protection of the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park, a protected area.
Mt. Kitanglad Range, home to the Bukidnon, Higaonon and Talaandig tribes, has been declared an ASEAN Heritage Site.
The festival started on Monday with traditional tribal rites followed by the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers (KGV) Congress.
In Monday’s opening program, the park management cited the contribution of outstanding members of the KGV.
Forest protection through the KGV has always received the bulk of the budget for Mt. Kitanglad from the provincial government, Malaybalay City and seven municipalities that have jurisdiction over the park.
Mount Kitanglad encompasses Malaybalay City and the towns of Lantapan, Impasug-ong, Sumilao, Manolo Fortich, Libona, Baungon, and Talakag.
Lectures on citronella production and on payment of environmental services as well as updates and reports from the Philippine Eagle Foundation also took place on the on the opening day.
Tree planting along the park’s buffer zone perimeter were scheduled for the second day along with indigenous sports competition, Laga Ta Kitanglad 2010, and cultural dance competition.
Mayors from the local government units covered by the park will render reports on their plans and programs.
Environment Seretary. Ramon Jesus Paje has been invited to give the keynote address on the last day of the festival.
Last year, the celebration was held in Imbayao, Malaybalay City, and had the theme “protecting Mt. Kitanglad for climate change adaptation.” (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)