Mt. Kitanglad tribes launch the USAID-supported book, "The Wisdom Keepers of Mt. Kitanglad"

USAID Mission Director Lawrence Hardy II, Datu Makapukaw, and DENR Assistant Secretary Ricardo Calderon sign copies of the book, "The Wisdom Keepers of Mt. Kitanglad." (Photo credit: USAID/B+WISER)

On June 21st, the USAID-supported book, "The Wisdom Keepers of Mt. Kitanglad," showcasing forest protection activities in Mindanao, was launched in Davao City. The launch was led by Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park (MKRNP) Council of Elders Chief Datu Makapukaw, DENR Assistant Secretary for Staff Bureaus Ricardo Calderon, and USAID Mission Director to the Philippines Lawrence Hardy II. It included a report from DENR on the status of forest protection in Mindanao through the Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System (Lawin) and featured how the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers and indigenous peoples (IPs) use the system to protect MKRNP--their ancestral home, a protected area and an ASEAN Heritage Park.

The event culminated with a ritual led by tribal leaders, expressing gratitude to the Great Creator (Magbabaya) and the spirits of their ancestors for the good results of forest protection and the completion of the book. Datu Makapukaw thanked USAID and its Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) program for highlighting and promoting the role of IPs in forest protection. USAID Mission Director Hardy returned the gratitude to IPs of Mindanao, particularly the Talaandig, Higaonon, and Bukidnon tribes, for sharing their beautiful culture to the world and for their dedication and example in protecting MKRNP.