5 December, 2019

CBMIS Orientation at Barangay Tulludan, Tinoc, Ifugao

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Written by A. Kitma

August 27, 2016, Tinoc, Ifugao, Philippines – Under the Tulludan hall made up of wood and galvanized iron sheets that are characteristics of houses in the breezy Cordilleran mountains in the northern Philippines, more than 30 people gathered for a one-day orientation on the Community-Based Monitoring Information System or CBMIS. It was the first part of a two-day CBMIS orientation/Sustainable Economies workshop for the Tinoc community.

The CBMIS started years back as an initiative to facilitate the regular monitoring of lands and forests, particularly of indigenous peoples, whose worldview and way of living have been crucial factors in the conservation of the remaining forest cover in the world. Aside from the Lands, Territories and Resources domain, the CBMIS has since expanded to include Traditional Knowledge, Traditional Governance, Full and Effective Participation and Human Rights to encapsulate the interconnectedness of these elements of indigenous people’s well-being.

An essential work of the CBMIS involves explaining the importance of the set of indicators under each domain, their selection being a result of a series of consultations in the past with Tebtebba’s partner communities/organizations.

The number of attendees came trickling as the three Tebtebba staff explained the purpose of the CBMIS, how it started in their community, the Kalanguya, in Tinoc, Ifugao, and the indicators under each domain. While some have been oriented about CBMIS in the past, others, especially the youth, were not so familiar about the necessity of documenting and monitoring their traditional practices. The presenters tried to show how the monitoring of traditional practices such as the inum-an system can be cross-checked against the problems of garden expansion, for example, by counting the number of practitioners and measuring the area of their fields, forests or gardens. The inum-an system is the Kalanguya traditional practice of rotational agriculture in which parts of the forestland are made into swidden farms, after which they are left to regrow as forests again.

Admittedly, there was a slight miscommunication among the participants as to what the workshop entailed, as they had heard something about a computer literacy training. However by the end of the sessions, some reflections were shared about what they learned in the CBMIS orientation.

One of the most poignant of the sharing was that of a young woman who was informed that the workshop was a computer training. She reflected that despite the mix-up, she appreciated the new knowledge gleaned from the orientation. Furthermore, she shared that her generation had a lot of catching-up to do in terms of knowledge of the important traditions of the Kalanguya. The same woman, and two others, later presented themselves as willing encoders for the remaining researches that their local organization had conducted.

Every morning, the sun rises momentarily to greet the Tulludan community only to be engulfed by clouds, vigorous to remind that the rainy season is not yet over; but just as the CBMIS work in Tinoc may be fraught with clouds of doubt and hardship along the way, it is hoped that little pockets of sunshine will keep the work going for the benefit of the Kalanguya in Tinoc, Ifugao.