Bud Bongao, Tawi-Tawi


Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) Programme


December 11, 2015

Bud Bongao is one of the last remaining moist forests of the Sulu Archipelago Biogeographic Zone. The protection of Bud Bongao is considered extremely urgent not only among conservation scientists and workers but also by the people living around the mountain, along with government and non-government stakeholders. The spiritual and traditional importance of Bud Bongao to the Sama people adds to its value and the need for protection. Advancing threats raises the urgency of the situation.

Threats generally stem from the rapidly increasing population and the need for land to develop. Tawi-Tawi has long been the refuge of in-migrants from the restive islands of the Sulu Archipelago. Its relative calm and surging economy, propelled by seaweed mariculture and proximity to the more prosperous Malaysian state of Sabah makes it an attractive destination. The expanding population spawned the consequent expansion of cultivated areas and settlement, higher land values resulting from urbanization and the diversification of the ethnic composition, which dilutes the cultural and religious values that have long shielded Bud Bongao from destruction.

As a response to this, the project was able to facilitate the formulation of a management plan for both Bud Bongao and the adjoining forest area of Bud Kabugan. A management structure and body nestled in the Municipal government of Bongao has been emplaced to pave the way for a locally-managed protected area with the participation of local stakeholders. The formulated management plan is now under consideration by the municipal council. It is hoped that the plan shall be translated into official policy.

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