Press Release
October 22, 2012

Legarda Wants to Ensure Protection
of Indigenous Peoples' Cultural Properties

Senator Loren Legarda today said that a task equally great with that of promoting and preserving the culture of the Filipino indigenous communities remains to be done and given priority--the protection of the cultural properties of indigenous peoples.

As she seeks more ways to ensure that the traditions of IP communities in the country will endure and be known and embraced by every Filipino, Legarda expressed deep concern about the possible exploitation of the IP's unique art and practices.

"There have been reported incidences wherein their indigenous knowledge, dances, designs are being stolen by local and foreign entities, further marginalizing our indigenous communities and depriving them of their cultural property, their identity which has been passed on from their ancestors. This is a concern we must immediately address as we pursue the continuity of our heritage," she stressed.

It is in this regard that Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, filed Senate Bill 2831, The Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which seeks to make an inventory of all cultural properties of the various indigenous communities in the country and mandates the payment of royalties for the use of these cultural properties.

The Senator explained that the measure can strengthen the protection of the traditional cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines and support traditional artists and artisans in their contributions to their respective ethnic cultures and national heritage by ensuring that their rights are safeguarded.

"This proposed measure is important because the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (RA 8371) does not provide for specific provisions for the protection of our IP's cultural properties. Furthermore, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines does not have the legal mandate nor the expertise or capability to undertake such protection of our indigenous cultural treasures," she said.

"It is with the passage of this bill that this void is sought to be filled. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) shall lead the creation of a comprehensive cultural archive which shall organize and make an inventory of all cultural properties of the different ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines. The NCCA shall ensure the registration of ownership to the proper ethno-linguistic group for protection of their intellectual property," Legarda stressed.

Recently, the Hibla Pavilion of Textiles and Weaves of the Philippines, an initiative of Senator Legarda, which was regarded as a highlight of the Manila FAME Design and Lifestyle Event 2012 that was held last October 17-20, showcased the products of various indigenous communities whose members demonstrated their respective weaving traditions.

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