Legarda – Indigenous Filipinos vital to national identity and heritage

July 12, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda recognized the importance of indigenous Filipinos in preserving the country’s rich cultural heritage.

Legarda, a staunch defender and promoter of Philippine culture, praised the contributions of the indigenous Filipinos in maintaining the country’s identity in commemoration of this year’s Cultural Communities Week.

“Without the pioneering efforts of our indigenous people, we would have lost our consciousness as a nation, so for that, I thank them for providing us the building blocks of becoming a Filipino,” said Legarda.

“It is of utmost importance to preserve and propagate the culture and tradition of our indigenous countrymen so that we may teach it to future generations,” she added.

The four-term senator has long been pushing for preserving the country’s rich heritage, a significant component of which was provided by indigenous Filipinos.

Legarda, who started her public service career as a journalist, has continued to bring Filipino indigenous culture and heritage to a bigger light through the award-winning documentary series ‘Dayaw.’

Aired over the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC), ‘Dayaw’ has provided a glimpse into the world of the ways of life, traditions, practices, and culture of indigenous Filipinos since its pilot in 2015.

“We have always been committed to preserving the heritage of the Filipinos through our extensive documentation of their daily lives, which had been shown to the public through our program, ‘Dayaw,'” mentioned Legarda.

“Our appreciation goes to all indigenous Filipinos, and our government institutions such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), and National Museum for their commitment to recognize and promote our rich culture and heritage,” she continued.

In the Senate, the seasoned lawmaker filed several measures to preserve and protect the culture and heritage of our indigenous peoples, such as SBN 831, or the Indigenous Community Conserved Territories and Areas Act, which seeks to give due importance and role to indigenous communities as partners in the conservation of protected areas found within their ancestral domains; and SBN 838, or the Resource Centers for Indigenous Peoples Act, which seeks to establish resource centers that are ethnographically located as may be determined by the NCIP.

Legarda has also filed SBN 839, or the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which serves as a source of IPs’ traditional intellectual property rights; SBN 1841, the bill Amending Republic Act No. 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act, which mandates the local government units to conduct a cultural heritage mapping of their areas – tangible and intangible, and natural and built heritage; and SBN 1340, in which 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.

Moreover, Legarda sponsored Republic Act No. 10689, which declares August 9 of every year as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

“They have lived for thousands of years, their culture and traditions have withstood the test of time, and I call on the government to continue concocting ways to preserve their lives and their heritage,” she remarked (end)