My Iligan


Friday, January 16, 2009

the rape of a forest

Albagan’s past…

The condition in Albagan, depicts that of Mt. Matutum, it was told that in the past, had lush forest and wild animals. It is now has three hectares of forestland and eight hectares of plantation forest, this was brought about by the illegal logging of forest trees and worsen by kaingin, the slash and burn way of farmers. The natural springs were not spared resulting to gradual drying up, which threatened the water sources, adding to this was the El Niño phenomenon hitting the village.

Majesty amidst devastation…

Mt. Matutum, which stands at 2,086 meters overlooking the South Cotabato-Sarangani-General Santos growth area in Southern Philippines. It was declared in 1964 as a forest reserve to protect 14,008 hectares of its forest cover from illegal logging, timber poaching, hunting, and other destructive activities. It was March 1995 declared as a protected landscape as a way of safeguarding the integrity of the traditional interaction between people and nature that, over time, has produced an area of distinct character with significant aesthetic, ecological and cultural value.

During the early part of the 1940s, settlers from various parts of the country came to Albagan through the National Land Settlement Administration that facilitated their settlement. Logging concession, that granted timber companies to cut trees in commercial volume, followed in the 1960s. Later when concessionaires abandoned their logged areas, it became a rehabilitation site with government pouring in social, economic and infrastructure support.

Evolution of a village-based enterprise…

In October 2001, the UDP came after a series of activities following the sustainable community development process; an upland barangay association was organized.The association came up with the community watershed plan as their basis to pursue development and environmental management work in the village. The village enterprise development project was implemented through the Mahintana Foundation, Inc. As a result of an organizational diagnosis, the association was able to define their respective roles and identify various potential village enterprises and prioritized seedling production and marketing.After the business planning, MFI engaged the village into the production of indigenous species such as Lawaan, Bakan, Nato, Hindang, Igem, among other. They did not find it difficult to produce seedling, however, the only buyer for their seedlings is the same service provider assisting them. In this sense they are defenseless against the MFI when it decides to stop buying; either by environmental excuses or sudden change of preference. On the other hand, data on the market reveal that there may be a large market apart from the MFI that waits to be tapped.

A need for alternatives…

Seedling production and marketing is viable for Albagan. However, demand for indigenous seedlings is highly seasonal and dependent to the whims of buyers. Although it is a good enterprise, it is deemed that other activities must be done on the side in preparation for lean period. The communities must therefore diversify to survive trying times.


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