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Mt Santo Tomas Forest Reserve Conservation and Management Plan implementation inked

 BAGUIO CITY-- The Ibaloy Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs) of the Ancestral Domain of Tuba and the Tuba Ancestral Domain Indigenous Peoples Organization (TADIPO) have entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the implementation of the Mount Santo Tomas Forest Reserve (MSTFR) Conservation and Management Plan.

 The integrated Plan contains the programs, projects and activities for the protection, conservation, and sustainable management of the Mt. Santo Tomas.

Under the MOA, the IPs/ICCs agree to carry out the Plan as an integral part of the Tuba Ancestral Domain Sustainable and Development Protection Plan (ADSDPP) and other developmental plans prepared by the IPs/ICCs within the forest reserve.

The DENR undertakes  to respect the rights of the host IPs/ICCs to their ancestral domain by carrying out the plan with due consideration  to  the customary law, indigenous knowledge, systems and practices, values, beliefs, interests and institutions of the IPs/ICCs.

Along with the NCIP, the DENR also commits to protect, promote and recognize the rights and values systems of the IPs/ICCs by, among others, strictly prevent access to “no go zones” which include sacred and worship areas, and burial grounds. Rituals shall also be performed prior to conduct of any activity in other areas of the forest reserve.

For their part, the host IPs/ICCs shall refrain from committing acts that would, in any way, sabotage the implementation of the plan. They shall promote not only indigenous people’s rights but also duties and responsibilities towards their ancestral domains.

Holders of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claim (CADC) shall commit to amicably resolve disputes between and among its members, especially those whose properties will be directly affected by the implementation of the plan.

All parties vowed to jointly initiate environmental programs within the environmentally critical areas of the ancestral domain. They shall be jointly and severally adopt necessary mitigating measures to minimize negative effects which may be incurred in the implementation of the programs and activities.

In the implementation of programs, projects and activities, qualified IPs such as professionals, skilled persons and laborers shall also be preferred in undertaking non-environmentally critical projects to provide them employment opportunities.

As to NCIP, it shall ensure genuine exercise by the IPs/ICCs of their right to Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) and the issuance of Certificate Precondition upon compliance therewith.

The MOA shall become effective upon the issuance of the Certificate Precondition by the NCIP. It shall take effect for 25 years unless shortened through the consent of all parties, and may be subject to renegotiation after such term. (DENR-CAR)

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Juliet Pilotin

Assistant Regional Head

Cordillera Administrative Region

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