Mangyans want to be heard in the projected Mt. Halcon conservation and management plan
POSTED: Monday, September 1st, 2014
CALAPAN CITY – Careful planning and thorough consultation are some of the appeals by made by Mangyan tribal leaders pertaining to the government’s planned comprehensive conservation and management plan of Mount Halcon, Mindoro Island’s most sacred and tallest mountains.
Angel Makabayan, leader of Iraya Mangyan tribe, stated in the vernacular that he wish all his companions in Oriental and Occidental Mindoro provinces to participate in all workshop plans to be undertaken by the Oriental Mindoro provincial government regarding the proposed Mt. Halcon Conservation and Management Plan, so as not to go to waste whatever they (the Mangyans) hope for in as what as the natives consider as a sacred mountain.
The tribal leader’s pleas was aired during last week’s planning-meeting spearheaded by the provincial government’s Environment and Natural Resources Office (ENRO), led by ENRO Maximino Jumig Jr., on Iraya tribe which covers the towns of San Teodoro and Puerto Galera (in Oriental Mindoro).
Makabayan stated he and their tribe members agree in the government’s goal of protecting Mt. Halcon more so if this in accordance with their wishes and decisions of not setting aside the Mangyans’ cultures and traditions.
“What I can only hope from other non-Mangyans is not to desecrate our ancestral domain and the plan to be orderly and responsible,” Makabayan said in their native dialect, adding that there is no issue in agreeing with the program primarily if this is initiated by the government.
It can be noted that the government conducted a series of consultations with the said indigenous people and only they (the Mangyans) consent is needed to proceed with the program. Under the law, a Free Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) are needed for all planned projects, whether public or private, before these can be allowed to go on.
The government has waited years for the tribal minorities’ permission. The Mangyans even conducted a “pansula ritwal,” a special ritual, on April 8, 2011 in Brgy. Lantuyang in Baco muncipality, wherein they openly stated there that the natives pose no deterrent for others in climbing Mt. Halcon and they allow it provided the activities conform to the minorities’ beliefs and traditions.
The provincial environment office was accompanied and helped by San Teodoro Mayor Salvador Py and other local government officials during the workshop plan and consultation with the tribal people.
If pushed through, the said conservation and management plan will concretely define all local laws and regulations pertaining to protection of Mount Halcon, one Mindoro Island’s remaining distinct natural riches.(By JUANCHO R. MAHUSAY)