Indigenous people may soon be well-equipped to guard forest in the Davao area, with a training program being formulated by the Philippine Eagle Foundation.
PEF research and conservation director Jayson Ibañez said the “forest guarding program” will be under the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.
“It started with the desire to provide practical benefits, more long-term, systematic and sustainable means for our IPs,” Ibañez said (http://davaotoday.com/main/environment/skills-program-for-ip-forest-guards-proposed/).
He added this will help provide a better life for IPs in the uplands while they help in environmental conservation.
Once approved by TESDA, the program will be implemented for a pilot batch of IP forest guards now working for the Davao City government.
“The priority would be those forest guards who are already engaged by the city government especially those who already have a clear track record, and the performers because we want this to be a sort of reward or incentive for their hard work,” he said.
Under the proposed program, IP forest guards will undergo longer training and workshops in relation to environmental conservation.
These will include the proper conduct of patrols, wildlife observations.
Graduates of the program will get a National Certificate and Certificate of Competency.
But Ibañez said the number of forest guard trainees for the pilot batch will depend on the accumulated fund from PEF and other partner agencies.
Ibañez also said the project will seek to find potential employers for the forest guards after they complete the course.
Potential employers may include renewable energy companies, local government units and non-government organizations.
Initially, Ibañez said the NCIP officials and the IPs gave the proposal a positive response.