Legarda urged the government to protect IPs rights and their cultural identity

By Jason de Asis


SENATE OFFICE, Manila, November 8, 2010-Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities urged the government today to give what is due to the nation’s indigenous peoples (IPs) by promoting, protecting and upholding their rights and privileges.


In culmination of the celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Month that was celebrated throughout October, the Senator appealed to all Filipinos to take time to learn about the rich culture, distinct heritage and ancestral wisdom of our indigenous brothers and sisters.


She said in her privilege speech at the resumption of the Senate session that we have state policies and legal instruments that seek to protect indigenous rights as well as their knowledge systems and practices. However, there are still many forces that work against IPs, those that divide and destroy their distinct way of life and their very existence, adding that as part of the community of nations that has made IP rights a priority for the second decade in a row, the Philippine Government has a compelling moral and legal obligation to promote, protect and uphold the rights of indigenous peoples in the country.


The Senator organized “Isang Habi, Isang Lahi” in honor of the rich and distinct culture of the nation’s IPs where her speech was followed by the opening of the two-week exhibit.


The exhibit that they inaugurated was a reminder to the importance and respect they should accord the indigenous peoples where she urged everyone to take a look at the history of the indigenous brothers and sisters as well as experience and learn from their present lives in order to carve the country’s future as one people.


The exhibit features indigenous pieces of jewelry, textile, and costumes from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and the senator’s pieces of collection.


NCCA Chairman Vilma Labrador, Atty. Apolonio Anota Jr. of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, NCIP Executive Director Masli Quilaman, and National Museum Director Jeremy Barns were their special guests who attended the opening ceremony. (Jason de Asis)