Sustaining Forest Protection after Present EGIP Funded Project Ceases to Exist

Draft notes meeting at Macatabo on Friday 28 March 2014

Topic of meeting: sustaining forest protection after present EGIP funded project ceases to exist

Location: Macatabo, Carmen, Baguio District, Davao City

Participants:

Representation of the community including Datu Lamdin and Mam Nilda
Datu Quimpo Subuan of the Obu Manuvu Council of Elders
PEF Sirs Jayson and Joshua
EGIP: Alec van Dierendonck EGIP Foundation Board member and his girl friend Aiza, Wiebe van Rij, EGIP Foundation Board member and project consultant

Key results of the meeting:

PEF’s Joshua presented a project update, a question and answer session followed and clarifications were provided

Sustaining the project after the present EGIP project is finished:

In the future, part of the income from farm sales will be put aside to pay the forest guards for doing the patrolling as per standard DENR/PEF procedures. The community mentioned that this would be feasible when the IP farms are well developed and outputs sold with sufficient profit. For that the IP farmers need to implement their farm plans with EGIP support which mainly is provision of seedlings as per farm plan and cultivated as much as possible in the community nursery.

It was therefore agreed that each farmer will present a table to PEF showing the type of seedlings as agreed in his/her farm plan; how many were already provided (through PCEEM & PEF); and the balance still to be provided/cultivated

Part of income generated through the community coop will be shared for paying the forest guards

Part of the income from Non-Timber/secondary Forest Products (NTFP) like for example Tree oils such as Almasiga resin, medicinal plants, honey, nuts, seeds, berries, mushrooms, foliage, rattan maybe, will be shared for paying the forest guards

Also income from Eco-tourism to be shared for paying the forest guards
Regarding Eco-tourism facility/business

A SWOT analysis was conducted under the guidance of Sir Jayson (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats). A lot of strengths and opportunities were identified
It was conveyed that EGIP might be interested in supporting/investing in an eco-tourism sustainability project but on some conditions:

i.      There needs to be a designated area and a facility like a lodge where eco-tourists can stay comfortably

ii.      The facility needs to be professionally managed like for example there must be a capable manager, marketing officer and support staff preferably recruited from the community. The initial management would be EGIP’s responsibility until the time the community is capable to take over       the professional management. The project set up would therefore be “Build, Operate, Transfer in due time (BOT)

iii.       To allow EGIP to invest in the facility and manage it temporarily, the land on which the facility is located would have to be leased to EGIP Foundation on agreed terms and conditions with the Macatabo community

iv.      The first step would be to survey the envisaged area (somewhere around the place where LBF Delegation visited, at the Panigan river), which should be accessible/made accessible with a good road so eco-tourists can arrive by vehicle transport

The community brought up establishing a Tribal Village as per the ADSDP of the Obu Manuvu Ancestral Domain with the following information:

i.      They would like to establish the village which means around 55 houses, close to the forest to make monitoring of the forest easier and preferable adjacent to the tourism facility so eco-tourists could also observe the tribal culture, way of living etc. in the Tribal Village.

ii.      It was made clear that the construction of such a Tribal Village is beyond EGIP Foundation or PEF capacity. However EGIP and PEF staff as well as Datu….of the Council of Elders could assist in scouting for financing opportunities through their networks. There are two organisations in     the Philippines that apparently are involved in housing projects for groups like the Indigenous Peoples. They are Kawat Kalinga and Habitat for Humanity. These organisations may be contacted to explore the possibilities for funding the Macatabo Tribal Village

Another idea to establish a PEF managed animal rescue centre nearby the forest that is already protected by the Macatabo forest guards, cropped up. To study the feasibility of such a centre and the possible release of rehabilitated animals/and/or their offspring in the protected forest, at least     the following needs to be done:

i.      Proper research on the existing species in the forest, say through a ethno-biological study which includes existing and ideal populations and determination of gaps.

ii.      In case of a gap the possibility to release rehabilitated animals (and/or their offspring) that have maximum adaptation and survival changes in the protected forest habitat could be considered.

iii.      A rescue centre that also aims at releasing suitable animals into the wild again, could be an additional attraction for eco-tourists so it should be established not be too far from the eco-tourism facility and Tribal Village.