Press Release
September 20, 2011

Legarda to Lead Visayas IP Assembly in Iloilo

After the assembly of Luzon Indigenous Peoples (IPs) held in Baguio City on September 9-10 and the assembly of Mindanao IPs held in Davao del Norte last week (September 16-17), the chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities and Committee on Climate Change Senator Loren Legarda will now lead the assembly of the Visayas IPs at the Provincial Capitol of Iloilo in Iloilo City on September 23-24.

This IP Assembly of the Visayas, the third and last of a series before the culminating event--the National Indigenous Cultural Summit--will seek the perspectives of various IP leaders in the Visayas and identify appropriate measures to address their identified concerns.

Among the Mindanao IP groups participating in the Iloilo City assembly are the Bukidnon, Akeanon-Bukidnon, Iraynon-Bukidnon, Panay-Bukidnon, Bukidnon-Karulano, Bukidnon-Magahat, Ata, Ati, Escaya and the Badjao.

Aside from the open forum, there will be special presentations on Climate Change and its Impacts on Indigenous Peoples; Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) Programme; Disaster Risk Reduction: Use of Geohazards Information; ILO Convention 169: Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention; and Sustainable Management of Schools of Living Tradition.

During the Luzon IP assembly in Baguio, Legarda committed to strengthen the protection of the IP's ancestral domain by assessing the implementation of existing laws that protect the environment and the welfare of indigenous communities which are threatened by mining operations.

The Senator also said she would take to the Senate proposals from Luzon IP assembly, including an amendment to the Electric Power Reform Industry Act (EPIRA); and the extension of the period provided in Section 64 of Republic Act 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (IPRA) for the initiation of action for cancellation of officially documented titles, which were illegally acquired.

During the Mindanao IP assembly in Tagum City, the Senator said she would check on the implementation of the provision of the IPRA that requires LGUs to appoint IP representatives in policy-making bodies and legislative councils.

In both assemblies, she stressed the need for the effective implementation of existing laws crafted for the promotion of welfare of IPs.

"My focus is on funding the laws that I authored and on monitoring the implementation of the government," Legarda said.

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