Wildlife Warriors: Tigpanalipod sa Mt. Kalatungan

A training seminar was held on July 26-27, 2023 at the Margarette Business Hotel in Maramag, Bukidnon where a total of 141 participants attended the event. This was organized by the Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. under its project titled Mt. Kalatungan BioCon: Creating Innovative Environmental Solutions and Sustainable Livelihood. The said project is funded by the USAID through the Gerry Roxas Foundation for its INSPIRE project. The training was in collaboration with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) through the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office (PENRO) particularly the Protected Area Management Office (PAMO) of Mt. Kalatungan.

Bantay sa Yutang Kabilin (BYK) volunteers of MANTALA, Inc.

The Bantay sa Yutang Kabilin or simply called BYK is a local volunteer group organized by the Indigenous Peoples Organizations in Mt. Kalatungan. Alongside the IPO’s Council of Elders, the BYK serves as forest guards and peacekeepers of their respective ancestral domain.

The training provided the BYK a broader perspective of Mt. Kalatungan including some of the legal concerns that they need to learn and to follow. It highlighted the integration of their cultural and traditional heritage with the laws surrounding environmental protection and management.

Datu Nonoy Nonay of the NAMAMAYUK expressed that, “usa kami diha sa Mt. Kalatungan nga isip usa ka anak, kami usab ang mutambal kaniya arun magpabilin siya nga himsog, kay ang bukid sa Kalatungan among gihimo nga amoang amahan.” (we are like a child of Mt. Kalatungan, we care and nourish him, so he remain strong because we view Kalatungan like our father)

XSF serves as the bridge for projects and programs for local communities especially the IP organizations in Bukidnon. It is in the hope that the training would enhance the knowledge and skills of the BYK that they would preserve and conserve Mt. Kalatungan as it should be. Whereas government agencies ensure the recognition of the Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices (IKSP) of the Lumads and that the protected area is able to sustainably conserve resources and provide ecosystems services to communities downstream.

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