Indigenous people (IP) in the Visayas are expected to converge starting Monday in Anda town for an Indigenous People’s Congress for Visayas.
The congress is spearheaded by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Office of the Undersecretary for Solid Waste Management Local Government and Indigenous People Concern and will be held at Anda de Boracay Resort.
DENR Sec. Roy Cimatu is expected to grace the occasion on day one and will deliver an inspirational message.
Also expected to give his message is the head of the Climate Change Commission Sec. Emmanuel de Guzman.
The gathering will revolve on the theme: Katutubong Pamayanan at Kapayapaan ng Kapaligiran at Likas na Yaman, Magkaisa at Magtulungan Para sa Ating Kinabukasan.
The indigenous people are vulnerable when it comes to environmental issues.
In the interest of those who are protecting the environment, enhancing their capabilities in relation to the implementation of the Indigenous People’s Act of 1997, congresses will be conducted in various locations including Bohol.
Indigenous people are affected when it comes to climate change and other changes in the environment, in this line, lawyer Mary Kristerie Baleva, the OIC Asst. Sec. for Legal and Legislative Affairs will discuss the mandate of the DENR, law and policies on IP issues and concerns.
Topics on climate change and how it affects the IPs will be discussed on the sessions.
Other issues to be tackled during the congress include protected area issues and conflicts within the ancestral domain areas, land management issues and concerns within ancestral domain areas, environmental issues and concerns within the ancestral domain.
Mining issues and concerns within ancestral domain areas and other issues will be tackled towards the end of the congress.
The first congress was held last November 27 to 29 in Tarlac as the Mindanao leg of the congress will be held on December 11 to 13, in Davao City.
Several climate change programs have been laid out for indigenous people.
The ecosystems where these IPs live are being impacted by climate change with fragile rainforests, mountain areas and low-lying coastal areas all at risk of changes due to climate.
IPs are at risk since they are dependent on land and natural resources to surive. They are at the forefront of changes in the climate with erratic rainy seasons, flooding and even long droughts.
The changes in the climate are also affecting their culture; as rituals are no longer in sync with the climate.
Continuous dialog and linkages help IPs cope with the changing times and mitigate the impact of climate change as new normal has dominate the erstwhile untouched areas of the country.