As shared in the last report, the orientation on Disaster and Resiliency Preparedness conducted to our MHP communities last November 2019 has opened realizations that with climate change, adverse implications could happen within the community’s ecosystem. Their natural resources constitute their lifeline. Their rivers are not only providing water sources for domestic and farm use. It is also where aquatic resources like fish and fresh water shrimps provided them with additional protein food sources. Their forest , still lush and verdant green is still home to wild boars and deers which are their sources of food and income as well.
The point was driven home, that without preparedness of sort they could be highly vulnerable to the vagaries of the changing climate. With the emergence of virulent storms unheard of in the past, they have to do something to prevent damages. It is where their customary law of protecting their natural resources called “lappat” has never been doubly significant. As stated previously, this is their first line of defense. Among others , the law’s provision of a local policy protecting the forest by banning the cutting of trees out of season has rendered sustainable growth of trees that preserve the flora and fauna of the area.
It is through this where community members became fully aware of determining areas of vulnerabilities where important resources are located or traversing. Here, some members of SIBAT including one of its board members who is a medical doctor, specializing in toxicology and a strong advocate of herbal medicine, did a transect walk with community members. Along their route, he identified some endemic herbal crops and explaining its anatomical and pharmacological properties to some community members. Herbal medicines are important preventive health care measures in fur flung areas for preventable and treatable diseases. He emphasized the importance of protecting and propagating the species and locate production in areas away from erosion and flooding trails.
Looking at their river systems, and small tributaries, the community emphasized to add on to their lappat system provision, the prohibition of the cutting of trees along creeks and to start planting endemic species to ward off overflows during strong floods that could damage rice production areas.
Also, the community took a configuration of the larger part of the ecosystem and identified erosion prone areas or flooding pathways that could potentially damage crops. Farmers are now aware to synchronize planting and harvesting periods to avoid the onslaught of the typhoon months.
Importantly, the community is now aware of saving food supply especially rice when longer drought or rainy periods happen so as to lessen their vulnerabilities to hunger due to crop damage.
In all, the disaster and resiliency preparedness has created greater awareness of climate change negative impacts on their life, food and natural resources. It has created a new dimension of community-generated risk reduction plan that not only prepare them for any eventualities but also foster strong community bond for their mutual protection and eventually sustainability.