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Reporting Environment: An important focus for Mindanao’s media

Citizen Journalism has been a field so close to my heart. This is what we wished to help enrich in Mindanao’s communities with MindaNews’ Grassroots Documentation and Reporting Training (GDRT). So when I first proposed a master’s project (the equivalent of a thesis at the Asian Center for Journalism in Ateneo de Manila University) I immediately thought of looking into Bukidnon’s treasure chest of citizen reporting experiences.

I poured energy and time to pore into documents and interviews around Mindanao on the topic of DXBB’s (forerunner of today’s DXDB in Bukidnon) own brand of citizen reporting using the Bandilyo newsletter way back during the dark age Martial Law.

However, several consultations thereafter my proposal did not prosper. I botched my intended research and resumed study only now. My materials had become obsolete or at least needed updating. So when asked for a topic again I was forced to propose a new one, another important topic.

Meantime,my research on citizen reporting in Bukidnon during martial law will be sidelined only as  a master’s project. It still remains my dream project outside this academic requirement to graduate.

I choose an equally compelling subject: the state of environment reporting in Mindanao. Of course, I choose only to look into two weekly newspapers in Bukidnon considering the constraints of a master’s thesis. When I submitted my proposal, I did not forget the request by both media and government officials back in 2011 during the 7th Mindanao Media Summit.

I wish to add to the knowledge on environment reporting in the community setting – to check on the extent and depth of environment issues covered by community media, how these issues are presented, what limitation and challenges abound the community media. This should compare with the expectations from the community, that is to check if the reports live up to the issues raised by the Bukidnon Environment Summit in 2008.

I would also like to check on how the two newspapers coverage of environment issues stack up to the coverage of Manila-based broadsheet newspapers with national circulation. Yes, I also plan to compare this to the state of environment reporting portrayed in a research of the subject in an Asia-Pacific context.

In an earlier training on Reporting Environment in Bukidnon, I have called on colleagues to level up to the tenets of environment reporting. I hope this research looks more clearly into the practicality of that encouragement.

 

Low pressure area, high pressure impact

I saw the news: they counted the dead and the injured. I have to blink faster when they said repeatedly that what we experienced for a week is only “low pressure area.” Already it has killed many.
Maybe it is timely to provide basic education on environment and climate change to all. I don’t care if it will be formal or informal education as long as it clarifies and enlightens.
LPA , I think tonight, is misunderstood just like “storm surge” during Yolanda’s time.
Another way at looking at this is via vulnerability. The number of dead and hurt tell how vulnerable we are in Mindanao.  Let’s assess the hazards in every area and prepare ourselves to face challenges like LPA.

Eagles of hope

The Philippine Eagle Foundation has announced its plan to release two new eagles into the wild of Mt. Kitanglad Range Natural Park in January 2009.

This is despite the death of a Philippine Eagle named “Kagsabua” (unity) in July 2007, which it released just months earlier.

“What happened to Kagsabua is not a stumbling block,” a PEF official said in this report at MindaNews.com.

Time to harvest?

The Bukidnon Forest Incorporated has initiated its clearance process to cut down trees in its industrial forest plantation project in Bukidnon. Read news report here.

This must be subject to scrutiny especially viewing it from the firm’s reported dismal record of reforestation since it started operating in 1989.

The firm might be good in cutting but are they as good in planting? This should be considered in the approval of its application for Environmental Compliance Certificate.

Its Industrial Forest Plantation Management Agreement (IFMA, yes silent “P”), which will expire in 2016, should be reviewed if they have cut more than they planted.

Communities near those areas subject for reforestation and cutting should be empowered to monitor this endeavor.

Bukidnon tribe seeks endorsement from city for ancestral domain claim

The Bukidnon tribe is seeking endorsement from the city government of Malaybalay for its Daraghuyan ancestral domain claim over at least 4,700 hectares inside the Mt. Kitanglad Range and Natural Park. Bae Inatlawan Adelina Tarino, head claimant, said the city government’s endorsement is the last requirement for the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to process their application.

“We hope you will help us in this requirement, which is the last document we need for the application,” Tarino’s September 23 letter to Mayor Florencio Flores, said. Tarino’s letter was written in Cebuano.

Flores endorsed the request to the city council on the same day. The legislators have calendared it for October 7, Tarino said, adding Councilor Manuel Dinlayan, the council’s committee on indigenous people’s chair, assured here it will be tackled this week.

She noted the tribe’s great difficulty in acquiring an endorsement from the barangay government in Dalwangan village, where the tribe is based.  Read full story here.

EMB to consider Bukidnon’s moratorium on ECC issuance

The Environmental Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has agreed to consider Bukidnon’s request for consideration in the approval of environmental compliance certificate (ECC)  for projects based in the province. Read full report here.

Matigsalugs revive plan to create own town

A plan in the 1990s to create another municipality for the Matigsalug tribe to be carved out of Kitaotao town is being revived, an official said.

Board member Roelito Gawilan, president of the Bukidnon Federation of the Association of Barangay Captains, confirmed they have started “at the grassroots level” in initiating the process to create a new town for the Matigasalugs.

Gawilan is President of the Federation of Matigsalug-Manobo Tribal Councils (FEMMATRICS) and also the elected barangay captain of Sinuda.

Gawilan said they are now conducting a study on the land area, population, and income of at least 15 of Kitaotao’s 35 barangays. Read full story here.