FOGOP Field Updates 2019


With a foundation of connection and understanding, more and more people joined forest conservation. Communities joined Bantay Gubat trainings, while the general community and Haribon staff began identifying and sharing information on local biodiversity.

*Learn more about the FOGOP project here.

Updates from the field

In a makeshift meeting space for communities living around Mt. Siburan, Community Organizer Shalimar Ilejay gives an orientation on the Forest Governance Project.

Residents learned about roles and responsibilities in being a Bantay Gubat (Forest Guard), and requirements for deputization.

January 2019, Mt. Siburan Important Bird Area (IBA), Sablayan, Occidental Mindoro.

A sudden appearance by a Kalaw or Southern Rufous Hornbill (Buceros mindanensis) as Haribon’s team departs from a 2-day workshop for residents on Mt. Hilong-hilong.

Datu Romel Dawog, a Municipal Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) later explained that the Kalaw once served as a time indicator to Manobo tribes in the area.

February 2019, Mt. Hilong-Hilong Important Bird Area (IBA), Surigao del Sur.

Newly deputized Bantay Banwa in Lanuza, Surigao del Sur pose for a photo after finishing a 2 day Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Plan (FPLEP) workshop with the Manobo tribal council.

February 2019, Mt. Hilong-Hilong Important Bird Area (IBA), Surigao del Sur.

“Why are forests important?”

Training specialist Kathleen Zambas shares why Indigenous Peoples surrounding an IBA in Danger deem the forests as an important source of life and livelihood.

The Manobo tribe, along with the Mamanwa, have long been residents of Mt. Hilong-Hilong since time immemorial.

Read more:

February 2019, Mt. Hilong-Hilong.

Geographic Information Systems Specialist Oshean Garonita intoduces the community-based monitoring app to various experts and representatives from forestry, government, and civil society sectors.

Concerns, inputs, and suggestions were noted and will be incorporated as the app moves forward in its development.

April 2, 2019, Quezon City.

Community Organizer Nova Regalario gives a Basic Ecology session for members of the People’s Organization Samahan ng Nagkakaisang Magsasaka ng Magsaysay or SANAMAGMA among the forests of the Sierra Mountain range; particularly the Mt. Irid-Angelo IBA.

March 2019.

A Basic Ecology and Environmental Laws session was given to community members in preparation for their Bantay Gubat deputation. These residents live in and around the Mt. Siburan IBA, designated as an IBA in danger.

Training sessions are crucial in transforming forest-dependent communities into forest protectors as well.

May 2019.

A group photo of “forest defenders” among the forests of Mt. Siburan.

Future Bantay Gubat deputies underwent Forest Protection and Law Enforcement Plan Workshops for Mt. Siburan in Sablayan, Mindoro.

May 2019.

Haribon joined several networks, CSOs, research institutions, watchdog groups, and other NGOs in drafting a joint statement against the unecessary construction of the Kaliwa Dam in the Sierra Madre mountain range.

The statement can be found here.

Please sign the signature campaign.

June 2019.

Forest advocacy was brought to young people during the launch of the Laudato Si Gen-Pilipinas in Quezon City. Youth learned about forest laws and what they can do to help.

See more photos here.

June 2019.

How do forested watersheds give us life?

Our Ridge to Reef backdrop was unveiled and displayed at the 28th Philippine Biodiversity Symposium.

It shows how water does not just come from faucets or plastic bottles. For those of us near a forested mountain range, it comes from our forests.

The Symposium location was a fitting place to unveil the Ridge to Reef exhibit. Mt. Pangasugan rises more than 1,000 meters behind the venue: Visayas State University in Baybay, Leyte. Not to far away is a coastline where a VSU-managed marine sanctuary can be found. A university nestled in-between a ridge and reef.

What else do our forests do for us? The backdrop aims to answer these questions, while introducing the complicated concept known as the watershed continuum at the same time.

See a short 1 minute video on the backdrop here.

Download a low-resolution copy of the infographic backdrop here.

See more photos on our Facebook page here.

August 2019.

A research poster on a monitoring system developed under FOGOP was presented by J Kahlil Panopio at the 28th Philippine Biodiversity Symposium.

The poster highlights the Citizen’s Action for Monitoring Ecosystems or CAME, used by Mamanwa and Manobo Indigenous Peoples inside the Mt. Hilong-Hilong KBA.

CAME enabled communities to report and monitor the gradual loss of forest. Together with Haribon via the FOGOP project, their respective Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans were identified as conservation responses to address the threats to their forest.

Download the poster here.

August 2019

How does the presence of nature in a child’s life affect her growth?

Haribon Policy Officer Alexandra Milan shares her story about how being around plants and flowers as a child contributed to where she decided to plant her career today.

Read her story here.

September 2019

As fires in the Amazon rage, forests around the world undergo similar fates, if not get closer to disappearing forever.

In the Philippines, the entire country is down to a mere fourth of what was left in the 1900’s. In a mere century, extraction has engulfed the natural forests in which some of the most unique species in the world reside.

Read more from this article calling on all Filipinos concerned with the Amazon fires, to act locally too.

September 2019

To help bring the importance of forests to people “Forest Friends” was launched on our website in September.

It aims to introduce the concept of native tree species vs. exotic ones, the importance of forests, and the different native tree species long considered our “friends” in conservation.

At launch, three species were featured, but more species are to be added in time.

Learn more about the growing project here.

September 2019

A courtesy visit is made with Angelita Meniado of the Biodiversity Management Bureau. Hum Bahadur & Beechie dela Paz explore ways on how to strengthen implementation of FOGOP in priority KBAs in the Philippines.

October 2019

Bridging the Gap: A visit to Mt. Irid-Angelo KBA.

Communities and IP leaders shared some of the unsustainable forest governance issues in their area.

Birdlife Asia Regional Director Vinayagan Dharmarajah, FOGOP’s Project Manager Hum Bahadur Gurung, and key Haribon staff listened to Bantay Gubat in Mt. Irid-Angelo.

One of the issues raised was the loss of integrity of watersheds despite laws in place. Solutions discussed included improving livelihood and access to markets, ensuring social services from the government will be able to reach their communities.

October 2019

Congress people are now being engaged in regards to improved forest management policies.

Haribon and NTFP-EP met with Senator Francis Tolentino regarding the Sustainable Forest Management bill.

October 2019

The first Mt. Hilong-hilong Project Steering Committee Meeting was held with DENR Caraga, a crucial step in engaging local government to strengthen the ability for non-state actors to participate in forest governance.

October 2019

Elma Bauzon has spent most of her life volunteering for her community. Today she has responded to the need to conserve forests in her province in Surigao del Sur.

Read more about Elma here.

November 2019

Meet three amazing women forest defenders – Bae Elma Bauzon, Bae Virgilia Juagpao, and Ka Ningning Aztovesa – who are leading their community in protecting the forest and preserving their heritage.

Read more about them here.

November 2019

Local government agencies in or near the Mt. Siburan KBA were informed on the CAME monitoring system (Citizen’s Action for Monitoring Ecosystems) to further develop their understanding of this community-driven system.

Government agencies from the DENR, Indigenous Peoples agencies, and the Philippine National Police were present during the meeting.

November 2019

Bantay Gubat in the Mt. Siburan KBA were provided with a business planning workshop. They identified the kinds of businesses they were interested in implementing, and learned how to design plans for their chosen livelihoods.

November 2019

A two-day environmental laws training was implemented in Infanta, Quezon for communities in and around the Mt. Irid-Angelo KBA.

Farmer organization SANAMAGMA was present, and resource speakers were tapped from the local Community Environment and Natural Resources Office (CENRO) in Real, Quezon.

November 2019