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A study on ancestral domain recognition and management within and around the Mt. Kitanglad range national park

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The Philippine government recognizes the critical importance of protecting and maintaining biodiversity for the present and futu re generations. This recognition is formally articulated in Section 2 of Republic Act 7586 otherwise known as "The National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 1992" or NIPAS Act. At the same time the Philippine government recognizes and promotes the rights of the Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) or Indigenous Peoples (IPs) who are mostly occupants of the protected areas. The State’s recognition of the ICCs/IP’s rights is embodied in the Philippine Constitution (Art. II Sec. 22) and reiterated in Section 13 of the NIPAS Act. Th is recognition is further given substance by the enactment of Republic Act 8371 also known as “The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997" or IPRA. The passage of IPRA into law is a majo r victory for the ICCs/IPs who for several decades have struggled for the recognition of their rights over their ancestral domains. Both NIPAS and IPRA are aimed to improve the well- being and livelihood of the upland small holders while maintaining ecological diversity. It is in this context of multiple governme nt policy objectives of preserving biodiversity recognizing ICCs/IPs rights and improving smallholder livelihoods that this study is conducted. In the province of Bukidnon nine groups of indigenous cultural communities have already been granted with their Certificate of Ancestral Domain Claims (CADC). The processing of their applications was completed in a timely fashion primarily because their claims were not within a protected area. Among the indigenous cultural communities near and within the Mount Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP) their app lication for a tenurial instrument has not been granted in spite of the existence of NIPAS and IPRA laws that explicitly recognize their rights over their ancestral domains. The key question is what prevents governmental authorities from granting CADC to ancestral right claimants? Do NIPAS and IPRA have procedures on how to deal with ancestral claims within and around a nati onal park? Do they provide clear provisions about the processes that will lead to compleme ntary management approaches between ancestral domains and protected areas? Do they have guidelines for how consultations with local communities are to be conducted? What is th e best way to propose and determine ancestral domain claims within the protected area? When there is conflicting land use pattern within the protected area and ancestral domain which law should be followed? Mt. Kitanglad Range National Park provides a unique case study to answer these questions because it is both an ancestral domain claim of the Talaandig-Higaonon tribe and at the same time a protected area

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