Legarda reiterates call to protect cultural heritage amid Whang Od- Nas Daily controversy

August 6, 2021

“Apo Whang-Od has dedicated her whole life as she continues the art form and stands as living archive holding memory and mastery of Kalinga’s tattoo practice. The art of tattooing is an ancestral birthright of the community, the Butbut, of which Apo Whang-Od is a member. Nas Daily should have gone through the process of seeking consent from the community, as stipulated under the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA), considering that the art form is considered communal traditional knowledge,” three-term Senator, now Deputy Speaker, Loren Legarda stressed as she reiterated her call to protect our country’s cultural heritage, following reports on the controversy involving Whang-Od Oggay, the oldest living mambabatok and Nas Daily, a popular vlogger.


Legarda, an advocate for the preservation of the country’s arts and culture, filed in the House of Representatives House Bill 7811, or An Act Safeguarding the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which aims to create a comprehensive cultural archive and mandates the payment of royalties for the use of the cultural property of the IPs.


“To prevent possible abuses or the exploitation of our cultural heritage, this bill hopes to fill in the gaps and apply the conventional forms of intellectual property, like copyright, royalty, and ownership. It has broader coverage for royalties that will compensate communities for their collective and individual creative expression and extends intellectual property rights past 50 years,” Legarda stated.


“Insensitive cultural appropriation or commodification of culture is currently caught and called out in social media, but we must ensure that legal protections and remedies are available and supported by the government through a clear system of registration easily accessible to indigenous peoples and communities. This incident also serves as a reminder for all of us to always vet, be mindful and be respectful of the culture and community they wish to present in their materials,” Legarda concluded.###