The current population of the Philippines, which stands at around 90 million, has a mixed ancestry linked to Spain, Malaysia, and the United States, among others. The Philippines' Muslim population lives primarily in Mindanao Island, including many indigenous groups known collectively as the Lumad tribe. Unfortunately, the island’s long history of sectarian and political conflict has harmed local communities and led to increased degradation of natural resources.
Agriculture is a mainstay of local economies and livelihoods. The valley west of the Sierra Madre mountain range, known as the rice bowl of the Philippines, supplies people with food, while the Verde Passage gives provides fish and tourism revenue.
However, competing development goals, rapid population growth and internal migration have taken a toll on the country’s valuable natural resources and the rural communities that depend on them.
CI is working to reduce human pressures on the environment in the Sierra Madre, Palawan and Eastern Mindanao corridors, focusing on rural, high biological diversity areas where fertility rates are high and internal migration is common. We continue to balance environmental protection and sustainable development with health care and human well-being concerns in our conservation strategy.
As part of the Healthy Families, Healthy Forests project supported by USAID, CI and partner organizations focused efforts on reducing population pressure on natural resources and improving the quality of life.
CI and partners developed an initiative to establish a system of community-based distributor centers to deliver services to remote upland communities.
Working with the indigenous peoples to secure their rights is part of CI’s broader conservation approach to community engagement. Over the past six years, CI staff worked to build the capacity of the local stakeholders and law enforcement activities.
In the Philippines, many communities are interested in reforestation or tree planting activities. Inquiries into these activities were often raised in monthly assemblies and school symposia.