Sharing Ideas – The international forum was a venue to share papers on the ways indigenous knowledge and practices in areas of disaster risk reduction, enterprise and education adapt to change.

BONTOC, MOUNTAIN PROVINCE – Delegates from over 20 institutions all over the country met in the 1st International Forum on Innovations for Indigenous Peoples’ Empowerment and Social Transformation in Bontoc last April 5 to 7. The forum provided an avenue for researchers from various institutions and government agencies to share their studies on indigenous peoples’ empowerment and the resulting social change and action from their research. It was initiated by the Mountain Province State Polytechnic College (MPSPC) in partnership with the WOW Bali International Initiative, a research-based sustainable development program in Indonesia.

The core of the 3-day event was the series of afternoon discussions under the following streams: governance, climate change resiliency, ecological conservation and utilization, regenerative knowledge, sustainable businesses and transformative education.

Prof. Hai Dai Nguyen, co-founder of WOW Bali, moderated the presentations on the topic of regenerative knowledge. He noted that it was important to recognize and reproduce the knowledge systems of the indigenous peoples. Through indigenous knowledge, he says, we can reclaim our history that has been affected by colonial knowledge and history.

Dr. Stanley Anongos of Benguet State University demonstrated this colonial takeover with his paper on the effect of road-building in Cordilleran culture. He shared that the concept of paid labor and cash influenced the culture of binnadang or bayanihan in the region.

It was noted that development projects always bring corresponding change which can be either advantageous or disadvantageous to communities. Anongos recommended that the process of FPIC should be undertaken before project implementation to prevent or lessen future conflicts.



by Marlo T. Lubguban, NEDA- SPCAR