August 9, 2022

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda renews her call to provide stronger support for indigenous peoples in celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IP) and the Philippine National Indigenous Peoples Day today, August 09, 2022.

“Our indigenous peoples, our culture bearers, deserve our utmost recognition and support. I join everyone in celebrating the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (IP) and the Philippine National Indigenous Peoples Day today. May we be reminded of the overwhelming contributions of our IPs in nation-building and the preservation of our heritage and culture, which shaped our identity as Filipinos,” Legarda stated.

Legarda, sponsor of R.A. No. 10689, which declared August 9 as National Indigenous Peoples Day, highlighted the overwhelming contributions of IPs to nation-building and the need to provide necessary assistance to IPs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Undeniably, our IPs and culture-based livelihoods have been one of the most affected by the pandemic and also by the climate crisis. We must craft measures and policies to ensure inclusive and genuine development of our cultural communities,“ Legarda added.

Legarda, a staunch advocate of the promotion of the culture and the arts, has filed several proposed measures for the promotion and protection of IP rights, namely: Senate Bill No. 831 or the Indigenous Communities Conserved Territories and Areas Act underscoring the importance of indigenous communities as partners in the conservation and preservation of protected areas within their ancestral domains; SB 838 or the IP Resource Centers Bill to enhance the delivery of basic, social, technical, and cultural services to IPs; and Senate Bill No. 839 or the proposed Traditional Property Rights of IPs Act, which seeks to support traditional artists and artisans by ensuring that all cultural assets belonging to the various ethnolinguistic groups in the Philippines will be organized and safeguarded, among others.

Legarda has also supported various programs to preserve and document our traditional heritage. In partnership with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Legarda has actively promoted the creation of Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs), where the artistry and creativity of our IPs are showcased and passed on to younger generations. Legarda has also supported the National Arts and Crafts Fair spearheaded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to provide an avenue for IPs, MSMEs, and artisans to showcase and market their products.

In appreciation for her lifelong advocacy to protect and preserve our culture, heritage, and the arts, Legarda was conferred the Dangal ng Haraya by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. Many indigenous peoples’ groups likewise bestowed titles upon her for championing the rights and welfares of the IPs: Tukwifi by the Cordillera Indigenous Elected Women Leaders’ League, which means ‘bright star’; Cuyong Adlaw Dulpa-an Labaw sa Kadunggan by the Panay-Bukidnon from Visayas, which literally translates to ‘shining sun rising in power; and, Bae Matumpis by the cultural communities of Mindanao, which means ‘the one who takes care’.(END)