June 23, 2024

Candes II Cooperative Strives to Overcome Obstacles for a Sustainable CBFM

BACUNGAN, Puerto Princesa City – The Candes II Marketing Cooperative is a community-operated association mainly composed of the townsfolk of Sitio Candes II in Barangay Bacungan. Bacungan, in central Puerto Princesa, is famous among locals and tourists alike due to its expansive beach and breathtaking views. 

The Candes II cooperative manages a CBFM in Bacungan. With a total land area of approximately 704 hectares, it spans the mostly hilly and forested regions in the western peripheries of the barangay. According to Ms. Adelaida Almazan, the cooperative’s current chairman, the CBFM area is rich with non-timber forest products such as rattan and honey, and sightings of different native fauna species are also common in the area. The CBMF also serves as a key water source for the local communities in Bacungan.

Unfortunately, Bacungan was also one of the hardest hit regions in Puerto Princesa by Typhoon Odette. Typhoon Odette brought devastation unseen in the city’s recent history. At the outset of the typhoon, felled trees and landslides lettered most of the cooperative’s CBFM. Almazan recalled how the typhoon affected the CBFM’s operations, specifically its accessibility.

Na-odette, nag-landslide, nasa tatlo ang landslide, yung kalasada di madaanan kasi nagtumbahan yung mga puno” said Almazan.

Aside from the still lingering impacts of the Typhoon, Almazan also highlighted the incursion of outsiders into their CBFM as one of the leading concerns of the cooperative, which sometimes leads to confrontation. However, plagued with financial constraints, Almazan admitted that they are having difficulties supporting monitoring activities within their expansive CBFM site.

The Candes II Marketing Cooperative is one of the partners with ASSERT-CBFM in Palawan. Almazan said that the partnership with ASSERT-CBFM was a huge boon for the cooperative. Initially, as part of the project, the cooperative planned to focus on producing raw rattan, which would be sold for processing to final products to other groups.

However, as the permitting process dragged on, taking years, the cooperative could not push through with its visions. Almazan highlighted that the initial grant awarded to the CBFM association only went to the permitting process.

Sa totoo lang hirap talaga kami sa permits, yung aming nahingi na pondo, sad to say doon lang napunta sa permits, kasi hindi din kami makakapag-start ng Negosyo kung wala wala yung mga iyon

Despite these challenges, however, the Candes II Marketing Cooperative remains resilient and determined to overcome obstacles for the betterment of their community and the preservation of their CBFM. In the face of natural disasters like Typhoon Odette and ongoing issues with outsiders encroaching on their land, Almazan stressed that the cooperative continues to prioritize sustainable management practices and the protection of their valuable resources.

Aktibo pa din naman yung mga miyembro, di kami pwedeng huminto kasi may CBFM kami at may proyekto kami ng patubig na sinusuportahan ‘yung mga constituents naming sa Bacungan,” said Almazan.

Nonetheless, not all is in vain. With the initial grant from ASSERT-CBFM, Almazan confirmed that the permit for resource use and approval of the Community Resource Management Framework (CRMF) is now on the horizon. She emphasized that the Candes II Marketing Cooperative is poised to enter a new phase of sustainable resource management and community development, providing a solid foundation for their future endeavors.

Almazan underscored that with the permits the cooperative can now proceed with confidence in pursuing their economic ventures and continually safeguard the environmental integrity of their CBFM. She said that will include the sustainable harvesting of rattan and other non-timber forest products.

Pag approve na itong CRMF namin, susundin nalang naming yan, nakapaloob na dyan kung ano yung gagawin naming sa aming CBFM sa loob ng susunod na five-years, di man kami maga-expand sa furnitures pero ang plano namin ay mag-benta nung buo na rattan talaga.”