Press Release
November 13, 2012

Legarda to Conduct Senate Hearing on Traditional Property
Rights of Indigenous Peoples Bill

Senator Loren Legarda will conduct tomorrow, November 14, a Senate Hearing on Senate Bill 2831, also known as the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Bill, which seeks to safeguard the intellectual property of Philippine ethno-linguistic groups.

"Our indigenous peoples have suffered historical injustices in the form of discrimination, deprivation of their ancestral domains and lands, among many other human rights violations. To put salt in their many wounds, there have been reported incidences wherein their indigenous knowledge, dances, and designs are being stolen by local and foreign entities," she explained.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, further stated that the existing Indigenous Peoples Rights' Act (IPRA) or RA 8371 does not provide for specific provisions for the protection of their cultural properties, both intangible and tangible.

"Besides the lack of protection in the IPRA, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines does not have the legal mandate to undertake the protection of our indigenous cultural treasures. Certainly, this is a void that has to be filled. This bill seeks to address this concern through an inventory of all cultural properties of the various indigenous communities in the country," she said.

"As a nation, we must end the marginalization of our indigenous communities. Their cultural property, which is a vital part of their identity, must be duly protected. Their intangible and tangible cultural heritage has been passed on from their ancestors, and we must ensure that they will still be passed on to future generations," Legarda concluded.

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