Protection of Rights of IPs, Among Legarda’s Priorities in Next Term

June 28, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today assured the country’s estimated 14-17 million indigenous peoples (IPs) that she will continue to look after their welfare and rights and will help preserve and promote the culture that they protect.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that providing equal opportunities for Filipino IPs will be among her priorities in her third term.

“Our aim is to improve the lives of our IPs by ensuring that they are respected, provided with opportunities available to other Filipinos, and are not subjected to discrimination,” she said.

“I am happy with the Department of Education’s continuing advocacy along this line, from providing equal education opportunities through the creation of an IPs Education Office (IPsEO) to acknowledging their right to their ancestral domain,” she said, noting a recent agreement between the DepEd and the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to consult IPs on DepEd’s use of school sites located within ancestral domains.

In the 16th Congress, Legarda will file measures that will be beneficial to IPs such as the Anti-Discrimination Act, which will place IPs on a level playing field when it comes to employment, education, accommodation and delivery of goods and services.

She will also re-file the proposed Equal Employment Opportunity Act, which when enacted into law, would require government offices and private enterprises in areas where members of indigenous cultural communities are predominantly located, to give preferential employment to IPs, who must constitute at least 10% of their work force.

Legarda will also propose the creation of folk art museums in provinces to preserve, protect and promote the culture of the 110 ethno-linguistic groups in the country, which is an important component of the overall Filipino culture and heritage.