Tribal leader prefers medicine-making over mining as livelihood means

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/25 September)—Harnessing the potentials of indigenous peoples to produce medicines from plants and herbs as a livelihood opportunity is better than allowing mining in their ancestral domains, a lumad leader said.

Bae Inatlawan Docenos Tarino, spiritual leader and head claimant of the Bukidnon Daraghuyan tribe in Dalwangan here, said on the phone Monday that they have already produced some medicines from herbs using indigenous knowledge since 2008.

“We want to handle it [medicine-making venture] so we can use it for our livelihood,” she said.

Tarino said they want to develop their medicine-making craft so that they can use their knowledge and resources to help others.

Among the medicines the tribe has produced from herbs that grow on old indigenous trees in the forest is an anti-biotic, she said.

Tarino said the tribe wants to learn how to improve such enterprise so their people will be able to earn from it for a living, stressing that this prospect is better than allowing mining to come in.

“There are those who mined and did not progress. Yet the environment is already ruined,” she said separately during the short program for the anniversary celebration of Bukidnon’s local news service, Bukidnon News Dispatch.

Tarino said even if they are poor, they will assert their rights over their territory to protect the environment.

For companies that conduct research and produce medicines from plants, she added, the tribe can share samples to them.

“But they need to go through the process,” she added, stressing that along the way they will mutually agree how the venture can help each other.

She cited that their tribe wants to take control of traditional plants and herbs growing in the Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park, and would ask those interested on it to go through a free and prior informed consent.

She said that she learned in a conference in Thailand in August 2012 that the IPs should have an equitable share in the use of these resources.

Tarino attended the Southeast Asia Training-Workshop on Building Institutional and Stakeholders Capacities on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilization, held at The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok.

The training was a capacity building initiative for an ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)-wide harmonized national processes to implement the Convention of Biodiversity Provisions. (Walter I. Balane/MindaNews)