By Jerry Alcayde
GLORIA, Oriental Mindoro – Three Mangyan tribes have pledged their support to the Philippine National Police’s (PNP) special anti-crime initiative which is focused on ending the decades-long problem on illegal logging and insurgency in the hinterlands of Mindoro.
Sr. Supt. Christopher C. Birung, provincial director of Oriental Mindoro Police Provincial Office (PPO), said tribesmen belonging to Tau-buid, Tadyawan, and Bangon who live mainly in central part of the island are supportive of their project called “Mangyan Desk,” specifically designed to cater to the needs of Mangyans in the aspect of peace and order during the launching of the fifth leg of the said project held at the Municipal Multi-Purpose Conference Hall of this town last Monday.
Birung said other concerned government agencies like the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Philippine Army’s 203rd Brigade, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) have actively participated in the PNP’s activity which is seen as one big step solution to end the incessant cutting of trees in the mountains.
“This is a multi-agency approach, with the PNP in the lead role, and we are optimistic that we could reach the hearts and minds of Mangyans and make them partners in nation building as well as in the government’s sustainable development program and protection of the environment,” Sr. Birung stressed in his speech before key Mangyan leaders from Gloria and Pinamalayan towns.
He urged the IPs not to be enticed with the promises of unscrupulous financiers involved in illegal logging activities and illegal mining operations saying that those people are merely exploiting them in their unlawful acts.
Gloria Mayor German D. Rodegario said his municipality has special projects for Mangyans including livelihood and scholarship programs and told the Mangyan audience that his administration is always ready to deliver basic services to them.
The PPO started the Mangyan Desk caravan in the town of San Teodoro last year, then it was relaunched in Naujan, Victoria, and Pola this year.