Remarks by Lawrence Hardy II, Mission Director, The Wisdom Keepers of Mt. Kitanglad Book Launch

Thursday, June 21, 2018
The Wisdom Keepers of Mt. Kitanglad Book Launch

[As Prepared]

[Greetings]

It is my pleasure to join you all today as we celebrate one of the milestones of USAID’s work here in Mindanao, which we have achieved through our Biodiversity and Watersheds Improved for Stronger Economy and Ecosystem Resilience (B+WISER) project. I would like to thank our partners from the Philippine Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the local government of Bukidnon, the indigenous peoples of Mt. Kitanglad and other NGOs for their dedication and hard work that has strengthened and expanded conservation in this region.

In partnership with DENR and local stakeholders, USAID’s work to protect forest and biodiversity promotes food security, prosperity and self-reliance. Our programs help secure the livelihoods of some of the most vulnerable communities, while conserving wildlife, biodiversity, and our shared global heritage.

We can see this clearly in the pages of the book that we have launched today. USAID is proud to have worked with the Kitanglad Guard Volunteers and the entire community to protect their natural and cultural treasures.

Using our Lawin Forest and Biodiversity Protection System, volunteers have successfully improved management of the area through forest monitoring and patrolling and law enforcement.

This book, which is a product of close collaboration between USAID, tribal community groups and the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, serves as a guide for future generations on how to protect and conserve this important biodiversity area.

More importantly, it documents the cultural significance of Mt. Kitanglad for the local community, indigenous peoples, and for all Filipinos.

The protection of Mt. Kitanglad, your home and the root of your cultural heritage, is a shared responsibility that spans generations and transcends socio-cultural differences. The American people are proud to be part of this endeavor.

I would like to thank Datu Makapukaw and his community for sharing their rich and beautiful culture to the world, seamlessly connecting one generation to the next, and showing how nature and humanity are one.

I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Kitanglad Integrated NGOs, the Protected Area Superintendent Office and the Bukidnon National Commission on Indigenous Peoples for their continuous support to the indigenous peoples of Mt. Kitanglad.

As I close, I want to commend you all for your incredible work. Since it was launched in 2012, Lawin has been transformed from a small-scale forest protection system in seven areas, to a national system now used throughout the country.

This is a testimony of how strong partnerships between the government, the local community and development partners can effect lasting and tangible improvements to the natural environment – improvements that can help restore and sustain healthy habitats for the Philippines’ rich biodiversity.

Maraming salamat sa inyong lahat!

Issuing Country 

Last updated: July 11, 2018

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