“Ulitawo pa ko sa samtang gisugdan namo ni. Karon, naa na ko’y ulitawo.” [I was still a single young man when we started this. Now, I have a son who is now a young man]. This was the statement of Datu Herminio Guinto, as he recalled their tribe’s struggles for their rights to their ancestral domain which, until now, has not yet been awarded to them with Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). Datu Guinto was the tribal chieftain of the Nagkahiusang Manobo nga Manununod sa Yutang Kabilin (NAMAMAYUK) ancestral domain of around 3,500 hectares located in Mt. Kalatungan, Bukidnon in the Northern Mindanao Region. He said that they almost lost hopes.
But on 19 September 2016, tribal leaders were all smiles and filled with hopes as they began the crafting of their tribe’s Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plan (ADSDPP) with assistance from Xavier Science Foundation, Inc. (XSF). ADSDPP is a document that charts how the tribe manages their territory.
The tribe started the day with a ritual praying for the guidance and blessings of diwata (nature spirits) Magbabaya (Supreme Being). The ritual was followed by a heavy rain which the Manobo regarded as a good omen that Magbabaya has given His blessing.
The following day, XSF held a workshop on resource mapping for the tribe using Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) tools. This helped the community draw out their situation and systematically analyze the situation. The Resource Mapping helped the community identify their forest areas, water resources, residential areas, sacred sites, roads, and basic services available in their ancestral domains (AD). This has also helped in identify potential threats such as plantations. The Resource Transect helped the tribe identify their resources and uses of their forests, water sources, grasslands, farms, and residential areas. They have also identified problems, issues, and threats to these resources, and they have proposed actions the needs to be done in order to address these problems.
The community had an action planning on the third day where they have expressed their willingness to give their full cooperation to this project. The activity concluded with a great hope that someday NAMAMAYUK would gain their full rights to their AD in the pursuit of self-determination.