As part of Global Land Tool Network’s (GLTN) global project on Secure Access to Land and Resources (SALaR), the local initiative Improving Tenure Security of Smallholder Farmers in Select Areas in the Philippines facilitated by the Asian NGO Coalition for Agrarian Reform and Rural Development (ANGOC) and Xavier Science Foundation, Inc (XSF) have awarded more than 500 certificates of customary land occupancy to family members of the indigenous peoples organizations of the Nagkahiusang Manobong Manununod sa Yutang Kabilin (NAMAMAYUK) and Portulin Talaandig Tribal Association (PTTA) of Pangantucan, Bukidnon in July this year.
After several months of quarantine, XSF team was able to conduct the awarding ceremonies on July 23 & 24 for NAMAMAYUK and July 29 & 30 for PTTA, observing all necessary safety and new normal protocols.
The project aims to enhance the tenurial security of 2,500 households including the Miarayon Lapok Lirongan Tinaytayan Talaandig Tribal Association (MILALITTRA) of Talakag. It institutes participatory enumeration with the use of Social Tenure Domain Model (STDM) to capture information on household membership, house, garden and farm lots. It also presents tenure status that is recognized among the household members, their neighbors, including their respective tribal leaders and local government unit personnel. As most residents, especially in an ancestral domain, do not have documentation on their ownership or tenure status, the certificates awarded allows them to have a free hold of their lands being occupied.
Moreover, the certificates could not be considered as a legal document used for selling or leasing a particular property. It is, however, a document that recognizes and respects the holders of their tenure rights to land within a particular landscape. It allows them to strengthen their relationship to the land and of its neighbors and particular decisions in managing their land entails coordination with respective people within their community and the government.
IPO Chairman of NAMAMAYUK, Datu Imbay-aw Suclatan expressed his gratitude to all the people who committed their time and effort to make this project successful. XSF’s Deputy Director, Thieza Verdijo also emphasized that this project wouldn’t be possible without the joint effort of both the community, who is so eager to work and commit whole heartedly and to the XSF staff, who’s been going to the field and doing the technical work to deliver the best output despite the many challenges.
The project is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).
XSF is exploring expansion opportunities of the initiative in Valencia, Bukidnon and is currently in the process of securing initial approval from key leaders for project entry and securing initial list of local enumerators.