Press Release
November 10, 2010

Legarda Commends DILG Memo On IPs Representation

Senator Loren Legarda today cited a recent directive on the representation of indigenous peoples (IPs) in local government units (LGUs) as she pushed for the passage of proposed measures that seek to provide equal opportunities to members of indigenous cultural communities (ICC).

Legarda commended the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for issuing Memorandum Circular 2010-119, which requires all LGUs to appoint representatives of IPs in policy-making bodies and legislative councils.

The memorandum quoted a provision of Republic Act 8371, or the Indigenous People's Rights Act (IPRA), "the State shall ensure that the ICCs/IPs shall be given mandatory representation in policy-making bodies and other local legislative bodies."

"I am pleased that the government has taken steps to implement the provisions of IPRA through this directive. Our indigenous brothers and sisters can now actively push for measures that would address their concerns. Furthermore, the government would benefit from the valuable insights that our IPs can contribute for policy-making and nation-building," Legarda said.

"However, to enforce and ensure the realization of the rights of our IPs, we still have a lot to do. The continued racial and religious profiling and discrimination in employment, access to basic services and education hinder the development of indigenous peoples and proliferate the vicious cycle of their marginalization," she added.

To provide more opportunities for IPs, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, sought the immediate passage of Senate Bill Nos. 1342, which prohibits racial and religious profiling, and 1372, which ensures equal employment opportunities to members of ICCs.

SB 1342 seeks to promote a society that values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights, regardless of race, religion and ethnicity, by penalizing anyone who commits religious or racial profiling.

Meanwhile, under SB 1372, government offices and private enterprises in areas where members of ICCs are predominantly located will be required to give preferential employment to IPs, who must constitute at least 10% of their work force.

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