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Forest as Common Property Among Philippine Indigenous Peoples

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Nayanhangan, Domingo I.
Conference: Common Property in Ecosystems Under Stress, the Fourth Annual Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Manila, Philippines
Conf. Date: June, 1993
Date: 1993
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5543
Sector: Forestry
Region: East Asia
Subject(s): forestry
common pool resources
indigenous institutions
property rights
Abstract: "Forest resources among Philippine indigenous cultural communities are common property but are regarded as communally owned. There is a responsibility to protect and manage these resources defined territories which lie in the hands of particular communities, usually specific tribes. The communities observe ecologically sound, ritualistic practices imbued with social, cultural, economic, political, spiritual, and even moral considerations. Managed in this manner, forest resources in indigenous cultural community domains have largely preserved. In this socio-cultural and economic environment the common property regime did not breed abuse and destruction, but strengthened the life-giving bonds that exist between indigenous tribes and the ecosystem. Unfortunately, the Philippine politico-legal framework reserves no room for this form of property regime. Natural resources, including the forest, are owned by the State; and the exploration, development and utilization of such resources is controlled by the State. The non-recognition of this common property regime under the existing legal system creates pressure on the regime. Owing to the government's legal capabilities to protect and preserve these publicly owned resources, these resources have lost the security of communal ownership. Consequently, much of it is being overconsumed. This paper describes and analyzes the role of indigenous cultural communities in maintaining ecologically sound common property regimes in Philippine forests."

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