Legarda squeezes protection for indigenous people

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, April 3, 2011-Senator Loren Legarda who chairs the Senate Committee on Climate Change and Cultural Communities committee said that there is a need to squeeze out concern over the consequences of climate change that affects the lives of indigenous people (IP) who are threatened by extreme weather events brought by climate change as the IP are more vulnerable to their livelihood, health, food security, cultural integrity and lands.


Legarda explained that the IP contribute the least with respect to carbon emissions due to their simple, sustainable lifestyles and practices where they are most affected by the consequences of climate change.


The report from Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education (Tebtebba) declared that the issue of climate change is not just an environmental issue but also has economic and cultural dimensions explaining that as they struggle with each flood, landslide, drought or typhoon, they are displaced from their lands or are left to battle food and water scarcity as well as widespread outbreaks of vector-borne diseases.


Legarda said that the occurrence radically changes IPs way of life, threatening their sources of livelihood, traditional knowledge and practices, especially their sustainable practices in the management of their land, water and forest resources; thus, she authored Senate Resolution No. 158 last September 2010 directing the Committee on Cultural Communities to conduct an inquiry on the implications of the implementation of the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD) program to the indigenous peoples of the Philippines.


She said that in order to contribute to the global fight against climate change, REDD is a mechanism to create an incentive for developing countries to protect, better manage and wisely use their forest resources by reducing deforestation and forest degradation.


Legarda furthered that IPs are the primary guardians and beneficiaries of the said program as stewards of the country’s forests, which are home to many indigenous cultural communities.


“There is a need to ensure that REDD program is implemented properly in the Philippines to identify the pros and cons for the indigenous peoples’ reforestation program,” Legarda ended. (Jason de Asis)


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