Legarda bats for passage of measure that preserves indigenous games

July 15, 2023

In commemoration of Cultural Communities Week, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda gave importance to preserving indigenous peoples’ (IPs) traditions in various forms.

Long regarded as a champion of the rights of IPs, Legarda filed Senate Bill No. 1340, which seeks to protect and promote indigenous sports and games.

“Under Senate Bill No. 1340, the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), in coordination with the Philippine Olympic Committee and the local government units, shall conduct annual regional and national indigenous sports competitions,” she said.

“It also mandates other government agencies to initiate measures to preserve indigenous games in the country,” she added.

The four-term senator, concurrently the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Culture and the Arts, filed the bill in September 2022 and will be deliberated once more upon the opening of the Second Regular Session of the 19th Congress.

Under the proposed law, it mandates the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), the Department of Education (DepEd), the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), and the Philippine Information Agency (PIA) to initiate measures to preserve and propagate indigenous games.

“I hope that more policies and programs will be instituted to protect and preserve their culture,” she remarked.

“It is also my hope that more people generate deeper awareness, appreciation, and recognition of our cultural heritage,” Legarda continued.

Legarda has passed various laws, including Republic Act No. 10908 or the Integrated History Act of 2016, which mandates concerned agencies to consult recognized experts on Filipino Muslims and IP’s history for integration into the curriculum.

On the other hand, RA 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act, paved the way for categorizing cultural property in the Philippines. Legarda seeks to amend the law through SBN 1841, or the Cultural Mapping Bill, which mandates local government units to conduct cultural heritage mapping to heed the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) call.

The measure was passed on Third Reading and ratified by both chambers of Congress. It is now for transmission in Malacañang for the president’s signature.

“IPs are vital partners in nation-building, and it is time that we recognize the role they play in the conservation of biodiversity and the development of our society,” concluded the veteran solon.

Every August 9, IPs are recognized during National Indigenous Peoples Day through the enactment of RA 10689, which Legarda was a sponsor of. The measure is one of the many bills she has championed to help preserve the culture and tradition of the various IPs scattered across the archipelago.

Others include SBN 831, or the Indigenous Community Conserved Territories and Areas Act; SBN 838, or the Resource Centers for Indigenous Peoples Act; SBN 839, or the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act; and SBN 1249, or the Katutubong Tagapagtanggol Act of 2022. (end)