Press Release
September 8, 2011

Legarda: Condemns Abduction of an Agta-Dumagat,
Stresses Need for Better IP Protection

Senator Loren Legarda condemned the abduction of a member of an indigenous peoples (IP) group and stressed that the incident shows the need to strengthen the protection of indigenous cultural communities in the country.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that based on news reports, Rogemer Morada, a member of the Agta-Dumagat community in Burdeos, Quezon was forcibly took from his house by armed men last August 23 and his relatives, who already sought the help of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), have yet to locate him.

"Protection and security are among the concerns of our indigenous brothers and sisters as shown in this incident. Our government must address this concern along with the other needs of our indigenous peoples such as access to basic services and the preservation of their culture and tradition," she explained.

The Senator said that these issues will be discussed at the Luzon Indigenous Peoples Assembly that will be held on September 9-10, 2011 in Baguio City.

"We want to strengthen the voices of our IP leaders so that they may raise the concerns of their communities. This regional assembly and the first National Indigenous Cultural Summit will serve as venues for dialogue between our ICCs and the country's policy-makers," Legarda stressed.

Among the Luzon IP groups that will participate in the said assembly are the Isneg, Bago, Tingguian, Kankanaey, Iwak, Ibatan, Agta, Itawes, Tuwali, Gaddang, Bugkalot, Ayangan, Tiblac, Ivatan and the Dumagat.

"Their unique situation and needs should be an important part of public discourse, and through this regional assembly we want to ensure that our IPs will be given appropriate attention by our government through policies and programs responsive to their needs," Legarda concluded.

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