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IBP providing free legal aid to indigenous peoples to make ancestral lands as food production areas

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Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) – National President Burt M. Estrada talks to members of the press during the PCAFI-HAN press conference together with former Department of Agriculture (DA) Undersecretary Roberto “Bobby” Ansaldo representing Philippine Chamber for Agriculture & Food, Inc. (PCAFI) as its Regional Director for Mindanao. President Burt shared that the IBP supports PCAFI’s vision and advocacy focusing on the IP Communities to achieve water security, climate change, credit access, and more. the Philippines, like many other countries, is facing skyrocketing food inflation due to supply issues and the high cost of fuel. There is a need to urgently develop our food resilience. While working on our food security, we should also ramp up our productivity so we become less reliant on imports. We have to push for agriculture and manufacturing supply chain-enhancing infrastructure projects. Given the importance of farming and fishery to our economy, IBP will provide free legal aid to IPS to transform portions of their idle ancestral lands into food production areas to ensure stable food supply amid global food crisis.

Mr. Ansaldo was the Project Director of the USAID program, “Inclusive Growth through Inclusive Business” (IGIB), that helped the Bukidnon Tagoloanon Tribe, as beneficiary of the project, create Bukidnon Tagoloanon Mulahay Ha Kabukalagan Agriculture Cooperative (BUKTAMACO) as their economic arm. 5 years after, President Burt M. Estrada is replicating the program in the IBP for more lawyers to help more IP communities be included in national growth and development.

Inclusive Growth through Inclusive Business (IGIB) is the flagship project under the National Legal Aid program with the objectives of providing IP Communities with an organization with a recognized juridical personality to deal with the government, the private sector, and financial institutions that is in accordance with their customary laws and traditions and maintaining and improving IBP’s socio-cultural relevance through the proper optimization of the “Rule of Law”.

IGIB provides the economic platforms for marginalized communities to capacitate them and give them better access government and non-government programs. The main beneficiaries of this project for this initial phase are Indigenous People communities in 3 project sites, covering 4 cooperatives in Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao:

  1. Luzon- Bataan
  2. Visayas- Negros Occidental
  3. Mindanao- South Cotabato-General Santos City

The project has already made significant gains, with the project site in Dinalupihan, Bataan, already receiving its Articles of Cooperation from the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) after only a few months of implementation and the project site in Don Salvador Benedicto, Negros Occidental having its application approved. The other project sites are expected to follow suit.

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