Stakeholders affirm support to GIAHS anew

Officials of the Ifugao Provincial Local Government Unit (PLGU), Municipal Local Government Units (MLGUs) of identified Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System Systems (GIAHS) sites, Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-Ifugao, Department of Trade and Industry- Field Office (DTI-FO), Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) –FO, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) – FO, Ifugao Provincial Agriculture Environment and Natural Resources (PAENRO), Benguet State University, Save Ifugao Terraces Movement, Inc. (SITMo), and Cultural Heritage Office (ICHO) renewed their unwavering commitment to support the continuance of the Ifugao Satoyama Meister Training Program (ISMTP) during this year’s Ifugao GIAHS Sustainable Development Committee Meeting (IGSDC) at the Multipurpose Hall, Ifugao State University – Lamut Campus on November 15, 2019.

The ISMTP is a human capacity building platform of the GIAHS that aims to create a network of empowered development workers from GIAHS designated sites. In Ifugao, young leaders from heritage sites: Banaue, Hungduan, Kiangan, and Mayoyao are mentored in research and sustainable development framework towards sustainability of indigenous knowledge and systems; and non-destructive development of Ifugao Rice Terraces (IRT).

The program is collaboratively implemented by IFSU, Kanazawa University, and University of the Philippines-Open University, Ifugao GIAHS Support Committee-Japan, Provincial PLGU, and MLGU of GIAHS sites.

Hon. Jerry U. Dalipog, Ifugao Provincial Governor and Chairperson of IGSDC, extended his gratitude to all collaborators especially counterparts from Japan led by ISMTP Executive Director and Professor Koji Nakamura, in the implementation of the ISMTP.

Hon. Joselito G. Guyguyon, Sangguniang Panlalawigan Member, presented four (4) ordinances he proposed in support of the IRT conservation. One ordinance seeks to adopt GIAHS as one of the regular programs of the PLGU in relation to promoting sustainable traditional agriculture technologies, preservation and enhancement of traditional/ indigenous crop and forest varieties; and development of community-based agro-eco cultural tourism program.

The committee meeting moved, however, to indicate IFSU-Lamut Campus as GIAHS center and the implementing arm in the proposed ordinance Following this, the plan for resource-sharing for Phase III among PLGU, MLGUs of GIAHS, and IFSU to sustain the human resource capacity-building activities such as internship, training, and research aspects of the program was also initially discussed.

The ISMTP, with trainees in Ifugao reaching almost a hundred, is funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to empower the disadvantaged and marginalized sectors. The pro-grassroots program Phase I (2014- 2017) in the Philippines focused on Human Resources Development Program for the Sustainable Development of GIAHS Designated Site "Ifugao Rice Terraces.” Phase II, which will end next year, centers on “Strengthening GIAHS Twinning for Sustainable Development of Communities in Ifugao Rice Terraces and Noto's Satoyama and Satoumi.”

Trainees shared lifelong learnings they acquired from their Japan Field Exposure and recommended that these be adopted in Ifugao.

Meanwhile, representatives from DOST, DTI, and TESDA shared their programs for ISMTP alumni and trainees to sync their proposals for funding. // Faith B. Napudo