DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 16 June) – Environmental group Green Philippines will partner with the lumads in Marilog District here to re-forest and develop about 100 hectares of land, which will be poised as an eco-tourism destination.
Green Philippines president Felizardo Colambo said in an interview Wednesday that the area is envisioned to have a training facility for farmers, testing area for the prototypes of the latest technology, and composting sites for organic vegetable farming.
He said the project will benefit the lumads, mostly members of the Manobo tribe, who will be the ones to continue and sustain the project, located within their ancestral domain.
“We will tap them for this project because they are the owners and workers there. No one will be displaced as they would take care of it. We would just come in to give them intervention,” he said.
Colambo said that their approach in dealing with the communities is for them not to act as “messiah” who will bring immediate change to the people, but rather engage the people in development work
“As NGO (non-government organization), when we want to help the communities, our approach should not be like a ‘messiah,’ and don’t blame anybody or the government for the failures. We go there in the community, introduce an intervention, and talk to the local government unit (LGU), suggest or recommend ways, and help each other out, and forge partnership with the community,” he said.
The eco-tourism site is also eyed to be an area for recreation and team building for government and corporate workers, Colambo said.
He said they plan to start with the project by third quarter of this year.
Green Philippines is an aggrupation of environmental advocates that aims to educate the people about the state of the world and the environment.
The group supports the Philippine Agenda 21 that seeks to improve the living status of the Filipino people and holds green camps that are aimed at improving the knowledge of students about the environment.
The group believes that the communities’ role in decision-making is important.