The Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS) held an information drive recently for indigenous peoples (IP) representatives and leaders in Narra on the provisions of some laws concerning the strategic environmental plan for the province, conservation of wildlife, protection of caves, and the Chainsaw Act.
In a statement issued November 4, the PCSDS said the information campaign on October 30 in Sitio Buong, Barangay Dumangueña, Narra was in celebration of the National IPs’ Month.
The campaign included discussions on the salient provisions of Republic Act 7611, popularly known as the Strategic Environmental Plan (SEP) for Palawan Act, RA 9147 (Wildlife Resources Conservation and Protection Act), RA 9175 (Chainsaw Act), and RA 9072 (Caves Act).
Merlinda Hilario, the PCSD primary focal person for IPs/Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) concerns, shared the program of the PCSDS for the, which was one of the highlights of the activity.
During the activity, the participants expressed concern about the status of their tribal ancestral lands, claiming that an increasing group of “diwans” (lowlanders) visit their places and exploit resources without legal permits.
Hilario then inquired about the whereabouts of previous tribal members of the group, whom she had learned had died. As a result, she requested that a separate meeting be convened to update the status and/or data of Sitio Buong’s ancestral land claims, which the community had agreed upon.
The PCSDS said it was worth noting that the IP attendees were actively engaged as they sought clarification on the status of their Ancestral Land claims. The event concluded with the IP leaders and representatives agreeing to work together to resolve the conflict over the status of their tribal ancestral lands.
National Indigenous Peoples’ Month is celebrated in October of each year.
“The PCSDS recognizes the role and contributions of the IP community in the rich culture and heritage of our nation. Hence, the agency joins the IP community in celebrating this occasion tailor-made for them, and it continues to advocate for tribal peoples’ protection and the preservation of their culture for future generations,” it said.