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    Posted May 15, 2014 by
    New York, New York
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    Former US Deputy Commissioner for Consumer Affairs James W. Reed sends his congratulations to the Kiamba Municipal Tribal Council for a successful conduct of the tribes’ Strategic Planning Workshop for Sustainable Development within the tribes’ Ancestral Domain, held at Bgy. Salakit, Kiamba, Sarangani, Philippines on May 12-13, 2014.

    Commissioner Reed said that the Indigenous People’s (IP) rights are duly recognized by the international community. “By all means, guard your rights and take care of the very land and beautiful environment which your ancestors have cherished. I have read the Philippine Constitution which guarantees people’s rights to a healthy and balanced ecology and I feel happy that the tribal council takes this into consideration. Protection of the natural resources of the area is the only way to achieve sustainable development,” Reed said.

    Sarangani District is represented in Congress by international boxing icon turned politician Emmanuel "Manny" Pacquiao. The province ranks as the 6th poorest province in the Philippines according to the poverty map released by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB). Official Provincial Poverty Statistics of the Philippines for 1st Semester of 2012 reports that the poverty incidence in Sarangani has increased to 46.5%, compared to previous poverty incidence rates of 40.8% and 45.7% in 2006 and 2009, respectively.

    Pastor Arsenio Datang, the tribe’s spokesperson said that they see hope in the tribe’s vast human and natural resources. “The predominant ethnic tribe in Kiamba are the Tibolis and poverty incidence among us are high. Thus, we come together to map out a development plan which is sustainable and which will not destroy our natural resources. Our Ancestral Domain map recognizes the forests as a sacred site being the burial grounds of our ancestors and should not be destroyed and desecrated. Customary beliefs and traditions teach us that our Anito (supernatural tribal spirit) lives in trees and the tribe puts value in the protection of the environment. We can achieve sustainable development by using our resources wisely. As leaders of the tribe, we have the responsibility and are accountable to the future generations. The route we take today will bear a great impact to their lives."

    "I see that we have been left behind in development", one of the oldest Chieftains Awelando Samblang said, while wondering how Google, Skype and a projector works. It was his first time to experience this technology. "We want our children to be able to go to school and finish college. We now move with more resolve knowing that we have power with unity among us. We were dreaming but now woke up to the reality that we can depend on our collective strength to achieve our aspirations."

    The workshop was an initiative of the duly constituted chieftains and leaders long recognized by the tribe, led by Municipal Chieftain of Kiamba Jerry Bangon and the Board of Directors of the Kiamba Municipal Tribal Council, in partnership with Kiambans all over the world.
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