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Legarda on IP Month: Let us empower those who have given meaning to our indigenous culture

October 22, 2019

In observance of Indigenous People’s month this October, Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda stressed the importance of giving a fitting recognition to our IPs who gave meaning to our identity as Filipinos.

“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 overwhelming contributions to our history, culture and heritage,” said Legarda.

Legarda, known advocate of culture and heritage promotion, said that “the ways and means of our indigenous peoples may be considered ‘ancient’ compared to those of the modern society, but everything that defines us as Filipinos is rooted in the creativity, resourcefulness and passion of those people who lived long ago. They themselves created their own identity, built self-sustaining communities, formed unique practices, traditions and culture, which they passed on to their children, and on to the next generations.”

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

Legarda also underscored the importance of the role of indigenous communities as partners in conservation and preservation of protected areas within their ancestral domains in a House Bill titled Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas Act of 2019 that she filed as the Representative of the Lone District of Antique.

“The Indigenous People’s month serves as a constant reminder for all of us to ensure that we provide the needed support for our IPs to strengthen their part in nation building. This is also a reminder to public servants to craft and promote measures that will benefit our IPs and value their rights as we continue to protect our cultural heritage amid the challenges of modernization,” said Legarda.

With a heart for the different IP groups and indigenous culture, 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; leading the Hibla Travelling Exhibition that has already reached Portugal, Madrid, New York, San Francisco, Tokyo, Singapore, and Geneva, among others.

Legarda has actively supported the creation of Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs) as well as the documentation of indigenous knowledge and traditional practices. 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).

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. On the same year, NCCA also conferred Legarda its highest honor, the Dangal ng Haraya Patron of Arts and Culture in recognition of all her efforts to preserve and promote Philippine culture, and all assistance she has extended to the different indigenous communities.***