Lumads can stop parties from collecting resources from ancestral domain, says Bukidnon tribal leader

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/22 Aug) – A tribal leader here attending a biodiversity meeting in Bangkok has said that any one from the indigenous peoples can stop parties who are collecting resources from their ancestral domain.

Daraghuyan tribe spiritual leader Bae Inatlawan Adelina Tarino, who is attending a Southeast Asian-wide training on biodiversity representing the indigenous peoples from the Philippines, said in a Skype session that even if outsiders see the tribe as lacking cultural integrity or traditional knowledge, they can assert their right.

The tribal leader, asked on the second of the four-day training, said the basis of their right to stop is that they are IPs and are owners of the ancestral domain.

Tarino is one of seven participants from the Philippines out of close to 70 participants from around Southeast Asia. The other participants from the Philippines are from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, University of the Philippines, and non-government organizations.

She was endorsed by DENR and PAWB (Protected Area Management Bureau) as delegate for Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park.

Ma. Easterluna Canoy, executive director of the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, said the tribes here are known for their gate keeping policies such as “no FPIC, no entry.” FPIC stands for free, prior informed consent.

“Most researchers ask permission from the PAMB (Protected Area Management Board) and the tribal councils before given consent to do research,” she added.

The event, dubbed 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, is being held from August 20 to 23 in The Imperial Queen’s Park Hotel in Bangkok.

The training is a capacity-building initiative for an ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations)-wide harmonized national processes to implement the Convention of Biodiversity (CBD) Provisions.

Canoy, who accompanied Tarino in the training as interpreter, said they largely tackled the Nagoya Protocol of the CBD, which the Philippines still has to ratify.

“This protocol if made into national legislation will strengthen our anti biopiracy program, appreciating the role of traditional knowledge of most resources, which often are subject to piracy,” she added.

Organizers cited that they intended to educate selected participating countries’ stakeholders in access and benefit-sharing (ABS) and traditional knowledge and disseminate manuals and toolkits on ABS for review and use by the participants. Also, they sought to analyze stakeholders, legislative and institutional capacities in developing and implementing national ABS frameworks, among others.

She cited that biopiracy is especially true in the search for cure or rare ailments. She also said that it has to be ensured that the benefits will be shared by the resource owners, researchers, and investors, among others.

In attendance in the training include representatives from Myanmar, Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Vietnam, Singapore, Laos, and Timor Leste.

The event was organized by the Government of Thailand through the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment – Office of Natural Resources and Environmental Policy and Planning, the ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB), the United Nations University – Institute of Advanced Studies (UNU-IAS), GIZ and the ASEAN Secretariat.(Walter I. Balane / MindaNews)