Aurelia Luzviminda V. Gomez, Alita T. Roxas
This paper analyzes the lack of awareness about the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act among the Subanen living in the core protected area and buffer zone of the Mt. Malindang Natural Park (MMNP) and its implications on biodiversity conservation in the area. The lack of awareness of the IPRA is traceable to the lack of information dissemination on this legislation in the study sites by the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples, the provincial lead agency for indigenous peoples, and to the absence of a Subanen organization in the area. Results indicate that while IPRA is largely unknown among the Subanen in the communities studied, they are nevertheless aware of certain rights and responsibilities of indigenous peoples that are stipulated in the IPRA. These rights are those that generally relate to livelihood and survival, such as the right to land ownership and development of land and natural resources, the right to stay in territories and not to be displaced therefrom, and the right to protect indigenous knowledge systems. The responsibilities that are known among the Subanen are those that pertain generally to protection of the environment. The knowledge of these rights and responsibilities has been transferred from one generation to another. The paper also provides a glimpse of the Subanen practices and traditions, as well as the current livelihood activities in the core and buffer zones of the MMNP and examines how these affect biodiversity..
Keywords: IPRA, Mt. Malindang Natural Park, Subanen, Don Victoriano Chiongbian, biodiversity conservation, land ownership.