Press Release
November 8, 2010

Legarda: Protect IPs Rights and Their Cultural Identity

In culmination of the celebration of the Indigenous Peoples Month that was celebrated throughout October, Senator Loren Legarda today called on the government to give what is due to the nation's indigenous peoples (IPs) by promoting, protecting and upholding their rights and privileges.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, also appealed to all Filipinos to take time to learn about the rich culture, distinct heritage and ancestral wisdom of our indigenous brothers and sisters.

"We have numerous 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," she said in her privilege speech at the resumption of Senate session.

"As a part of the community of nations that have 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," she added.

Legarda's speech followed the opening of the two-week exhibit "Isang Habi, Isang Lahi", which the Senator organized in honor of the rich and distinct culture of the nation's IPs.

"The exhibit we just inaugurated is but a single reminder of the importance and respect we should accord our indigenous peoples. I urge everyone to take a look at the history of our indigenous brothers and sisters as well as experience and learn of their present lives in order to carve our future as one people," she said.

The exhibit features pieces from Legarda's own collection, as well as indigenous jewelry, textile, and costumes from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Nayong Pilipino Foundation (NPF) and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).

Special guests at the opening ceremony include NCCA Chairman Vilma Labrador, Atty. Apolonio Anota Jr. of the Nayong Pilipino Foundation, NCIP Executive Director Masli Quilaman, and National Museum Director Jeremy Barns.

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