The Obo Manuvus of Magpet, North Cotabato in an elaborate ceremony recently declared their ancestral domain as an Indigenous Community Conserved Area (ICCA). An ICCA is usually a natural area governed by Indigenous Peoples according to their logical and cultural values. In the Philippines, ICCAs are recognized by the government as a way to protect natural areas and ecosystems.
The ICCA declaration of the Obo Manuvus is an outcome of a project launched by Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Biodiversity Management Bureau (DENR-BMB), the Global Environment Facility (GEF) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Philippine Eagle Foundation as the implementing partner of the project.
The Obo-Monuvu of Brgy. Manobo, Magpet, through their tribal council and the Ancestral Domain Manobo Association – Tiko (ADMA-Tiko), declared their barangay as an ICCA with protection forests on October 23, 2018. On the same day, the barangay council adopted the resolution of the tribal council. Barangay Manobo is an ancestral domain that has around 5,592 hectares with 99% of its constituents belonging to the Obo-Monuvu ethnolinguistic group.
“Since the olden times, our ancestors cared for the forests like their home. This ICCA declaration is our formal way of telling everyone that we will continue our fore-parents’ commitment to be responsible stewards of our ancestral forests. We also encourage our fellow Filipinos to help us fulfill this talk”, Roldan Pelonio, Barangay Captain of Manobo said.
To formalize the declaration, barangay and tribal leaders and elders of Brgy. Manobo conducted a pamaas or ritual at their Holy Place. Culture bearers then performed traditional dances, did an uwahing or chant and played the suoroy, kuglong, and flute.
“The declaration of Barangay Manobo as an ICCA serves as a huge milestone for the Obu Manuvu Community and for the Philippine Eagle Foundation,” said Dennis Salvador, Executive Director of the PEF. “This development furthers our efforts to empower communities sharing these forests habitats with the Philippine Eagles.”