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Legarda enjoins Ifugaos to safeguard the environment and rich culture

June 21, 2015

“These are a testament to your rich story as a people. Be proud of these treasures and hope that this heritage would not only be written in the history books but would be continuously practiced and preserved,’ she said.

According to Legarda, Ifugao is a very special place for her because of the rich cultural heritage and abundant natural resources that this province is fortunately blessed with.

“Looking back at the traditions of our ancestors, we realize how much they valued nature and culture—to be one with the community and one with the earth. Fast forward to the modern present, we find that the old ways are the very foundation that will guide us through our way to progress. The traditions of the past will allow us to overcome many of the challenges that we face today,” she said.

The senator also pointed out that the traditional Ifugao houses are not only appreciated for their aesthetic value but also for their architectural design that make them resilient structures, able to withstand typhoons and earthquakes.

“This is even more relevant today as we experience extreme weather events caused by climate change. We hope the tradition of building Ifugao houses will continue to be passed on to succeeding generations,” she added.

Meanwhile, Legarda disclosed that they are working in the Senate measures that will empower local communities and indigenous peoples as stewards of the environment and cultural heritage.

The proposed Resource Centers For Indigenous Peoples Act will create resource centers for IPs that will serve as access centers to enhance the delivery of essential services to poverty-stricken domains and ensure protection of IP rights with due regard to their customs, traditions, values and beliefs. This major endeavor reinforces the rights of indigenous peoples to actively participate in development programs and projects.

Legarda also mentioned that Senate Bill No. 534 has already been approved in the Senate that can finally acquire accurate data on IPs and their groupings for their needs to be addressed while Senate Bill No. 669 seeks to make an inventory of all cultural properties and mandates the payment of royalties to IPs for the use such cultural properties.

The Expanded National Integrated Protected Areas System Act of 2015 has been approved on second reading.This bill ensures stronger conservation measures of 97 protected areas all over the country.

“I wish to stress that we are very fortunate to be blessed with an abundance of natural resources and a rich cultural heritage. I hope we do not take these things for granted and instead show our gratitude through responsible stewardship,” Legarda ended.

Source: PIA