LAGAWE, Ifugao – Senator Loren Legarda stressed the importance of culture and nature amid technological advancements and the threats of climate change during the 49th Ifugao Foundation Day celebration last June 18, 2015 at the provincial capitol grounds in Lagawe
Legarda, chair of the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Cultural Communities, conducted a committee hearing at the provincial capitol to determine the impacts of climate change affecting the local communities in the Cordillera region and to discuss issues on environmental sustainability and heritage conservation, including threats to the Ifugao Rice Terraces.
Legarda cited a 2012 research by the United Nations University which said that “ecological functions of the rice terraces are vulnerable to climate and other environmental changes.”
The study said that climate change is expected to increase rainfall intensities and lengthen the duration of the dry season which would mean lack of water supply, dangerous landslides and even the collapse of the terraces.
“Apathy is one of the biggest culprits for destruction of cultural heritage in the Philippines. This is why it is important to bring these events directly to the communities so we can work with them in ensuring that our natural resources and cultural treasures are nurtured and protected,” said Legarda.
Legarda also led the launch of the coffee table book on indigenous forest conservation systems in the Cordillera region titled, Guardians of the Forest, Stewards of the Land. The book is a project between the Office of Senator Legarda and the State Universities and Colleges of the Cordillera Administrative Region Research and Development Consortium (SUCCARRDEC).
“The Cordillera Region is home to a number of indigenous forest management practices made distinct by the traditions of each indigenous community and exemplifying the values that these culture-bearers keep. We have supported this project with the hope that it will not only keep these practices alive but also jumpstart the documentation of indigenous knowledge systems and practices of other cultural communities all over the country,” Legarda said.
The senator emphasized that “the ways and means of our indigenous peoples may be ancient as to the standards of modern society, but everything that we have now is not a product borne out of the minds of people from this generation alone, but a reflection of the creativity, resourcefulness and passion of those people who have lived long ago creating their own identity, building a sustainable community, forming unique practices, surviving with their own rich culture, passing it on to their children, and generously sharing it with others.”
“This heritage is what we must all strive to preserve, promote and embrace,” Legarda said.#