Legarda: Honor our IPs, our Culture Everyday

October 13, 2020

In observance of Indigenous People’s month this October, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda stressed the importance of honoring our IPs and our culture.

“As we celebrate this year’s Indigenous People’s month, it is an opportune time for us to honor the bearers of our cultural diversity, our IPs and their overflowing contribution to our history, arts, culture and heritage, most especially now that we are amid a pandemic,” said Legarda.

Legarda has always been known for advocating arts and culture promotion and has always expressed her support for indigenous peoples who have always stood out for their own identity, traditions and practices.

As a legislator, Legarda sponsored RA 10689 that declared the 9th day of August as National IP Day to coincide with the international celebration.

She has also filed several bills in support for indigenous peoples. Legarda has underscored the importance of the role of indigenous communities as partners in conservation and preservation of protected areas within their ancestral domains in House Bill 639 titled Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas Act. She has also filed House Bill 7806 titled the IP Resource Centers Bill, which will serve as venues to promote participatory programs and projects for IPs, to effectively deliver their responsibilities under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), and House Bill 7811, that seeks to safeguard the traditional rights of IPs.

Moreover, Legarda spearheaded the creation of the National Museum’s Baybayin Gallery and Manlilikha ng Bayan Gallery. She has been engaged in efforts to revive the age-old tradition of weaving, creating the country’s first permanent textile gallery, Hibla ng Lahing Filipino at the National Museum; which has received raving reviews not only locally but abroad.

Legarda has actively supported the creation of Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs) as well as the documentation of indigenous knowledge and traditional practices. In 2018, she supported the launch of From the Seas to the Mountain, a publication on the indigenous knowledge, best practices on sustainable development and environmental conservation, and traditional belief systems of the provinces in Western Visayas. It is a collaboration among SUCs of Region VI, namely, UP Visayas, Guimaras State University, Aklan State University, Capiz State University, West Visayas State University, and University of Antique.

She also conceptualized the Dayaw television series on indigenous culture, which she hosts and is produced by the NCCA and the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), and Buhay na Buhay, a show on the study of Prof. Felipe De Leon, Jr., on the eight living cultures of the Filipino.

In 2016, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) recognized Legarda’s invaluable service to the country’s indigenous peoples and relentless efforts in preserving and promoting traditional culture and arts during the celebration of Dayaw: Philippine International Indigenous Peoples Festival 2016 where she received the “Gawad Katutubong Pagkalinga” award. Also in the same year, Legarda was conferred by the NCCA with its highest honor, the Dangal ng Haraya Patron of Arts and Culture in recognition of all her efforts to preserve and promote Philippine culture. She has also been recognized by several communities due to her close affinity to them, having been adopted as Bae Matumpis (Mindanao), Cuyong Adlaw Dulpa-an Labaw sa Kaduggan (Panay, Visayas) and Tukwifi (Cordillera, Luzon).

“Indeed, October is a month that celebrates our IPs, but may we make each day a day to promote the richness of our culture. Let us all promote understanding, embrace our similarities and our diversities, for these have always defined and shaped who we are as a community, as a people,” Legarda concluded.