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PIA Press Release
2009/06/09

Agtas appeal to strengthen their hunting-gathering economy

Cabagan, Isabela (9 June) -- A leader of the Agta group in Isabela province appealed to the government institutions to initiate a cultural sensitive development intervention that aims to strengthen their hunting-gathering economy and social system.

Nonie dela Pena, Aeta leader from the forests of Isabela, courageously stated in front of the officials of Isabela, DENR and other private environmentalist groups to help them empower their livelihood.

De la Pena said their fishing and hunting grounds were already disturbed due to destruction of the forest where they live and the source of their livelihood.

In a research conducted by a Netherlands national Tessa Minter, on the lives of the Dumagats (Agta community) living in the forest of Isabela, shows that there are no appropriate development interventions for the Agtas and the interventions are centered on sedentarization and adaptation of agriculture.

Minter said these interventions are failure because it is not in line with the Agtas' system of living and it lacks relevance to their socio-economic situation.

In her study, Minter exposed that the hunting rates of Agtas in the Sierra Madre Mountain range have sharply decreased; the fresh water fishing rates are extremely low especially in the illegal logging, hotspots and other wild forest species continue to decline.

"I recommend to the officials to take appropriate action because there is an urgent need to strictly implement the existing environment legislation for the sake of the Agtas livelihood," Minter said in the presentation of her study.

Minter also suggested that government and non-government interventions must also lead to the empowerment in trading of their forest and marine products and help in setting up sustainable system for their productions.

In this connection, Isabela Gov. Grace Padaca said she would initiate special projects for the Dumagats and take necessary plan on actions concerning the results of Minter's study.

Padaca is very much thankful to Tessa Minter for sharing her studies on the lives of the Agtas in Northern Sierra Madre which is very important in planning a development intervention that is sensitive and viable to the culture and way of living of the Agtas. (Ver/PIA-Cagayan) [top]

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