EARTH SAVERS ALL: Members of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Western Mindanao (Region 9) headed by Forestry Management Regional Technical Director Arleigh Adorable (2nd from left) and the Dipolog Chamber of Commerce and Industry led by its chairman, Edwin Capili (6th from right, front row), join officers of TVIRD in a tree planting ceremony on Mt. Canatuan 22 April 2006 in observance of Earth Day.
ZAMBOANGA DEL NORTE (Rock Dimaculangan / 26 Apr) Long dependent on traditional slash-and-burn farming for livelihood, the Subanon indigenous people of Mt. Canatuan in Siocon town in the southern Philippine province of Zamboanga del Norte will soon be given the opportunity to learn a new and better way of earning a living and progressing economically without harming the environment.
During a tree-planting ceremony in support of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources’ (DENR) International Earth Day initiatives, leaders and members of the Siocon Subano Association, Inc. (SSAI) welcomed the opportunity to turn to more environment-friendly means of livelihood.
TVI Resource Development Phils., Inc. (TVIRD) and the Dipolog Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (DCCI) agreed on a program to work together to spur the development of entrepreneurship among the Subanon in Canatuan.
The agreement was forged during the visit of DCCI officers and members at TVIRD’s Canatuan Project site, where the businessmen, together with officials of the DENR, participated in the tree-planting activity as part of the three institutions’ contribution to the Earth Day celebration last April 22.
DCCI Chairman Edwin Capili expressed optimism that the success of their livelihood projects in other parts of Zamboanga del Norte can be replicated in Canatuan.
He identified wood-fired bakery, mini ice plant and gourmet rice production as among the small businesses that the Chamber can introduce to the community and help develop, from training needs assessment to marketing and business management.
DCCI is Zamboanga del Norte’s primary business support organization that advocates the interests of the business community in the province, especially those of the small and medium enterprises.
The project is the first undertaking of the DCCI in partnership with a foreign funding agency, and is considered as the biggest of its projects in terms of scope, impact, project duration and financing.
TVIRD Canatuan General Manager Yulo Perez commented that TVIRD strongly welcomes private sector partners to help harness the capability and resources of the Subanons for the community’s own advancement.“DCCI’s benevolent proposal comes at an appropriate time,” Perez said.
He disclosed that in 2005, TVIRD and its Subanon hosts have completed the master plan for the community’s new settlement at Tanuman, which has a well-defined land use scheme for residential, business, commercial, agricultural, community service, and protected forest lands.
“With the help of government and non-government organizations, we will soon embark on the second phase of our social commitment initiatives: to ensure sustainable development for the Subanon for the duration of the mine life and, more significantly, long after we have gone,” Perez explained.
DENR-Region 9 Forestry Management Director Arleigh Adorable, who led the government delegation in the tree-planting activity, reiterated the government’s resolve to stop illegal logging and kaingin (slash and burn farming).
He disclosed that his office had been conducting aerial surveys of Mt. Canatuan recently and noted that kaingin still thrives in the area. “We need to put a stop to this now, before it’s too late,” he said.
Adorable appealed to the Council of Elders of SSAI, the legitimate of holders of the Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT) to 6,523 hectares of Canatuan and host of TVIRD’s 508-hectar Mineral Production Sharing Agreement (MPSA) area with within the CADT.Atty. Pablo Bernardo, SSAI legal counsel, pledged the Subanon’s full cooperation with the DENR and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).