Philippines: Indigenous Peoples Oriented On Rights, Responsibilities


Elsa S. Subong, 2011

 

Indigenous Peoples (IPs) of Western Visayas, should understand their rights as well as their responsibilities to be part of development, a lawyer at the Ateneo de Manila Law School said.

 

Atty. Sedfrey Candelaria, also director of the Katutubo Desk of Ateneo said the IPs should embrace a perspective that development, in general, do not necessarily have an adverse effect their communities and culture.

 

Candelaria was speaker on the International Labor Organization (ILO) Convention 169, or the Indigenous and Tribal Peoples Convention, during the Visayas Regional Assembly of Indigenous Peoples held recently in Iloilo City.

 

He discussed with the more than 200 IPs and key leaders, the salient provisions of ILO convention 169. These include a provision that recognizes IPs as “having traditional lifestyles, culture and way of life different from the other segments of the population, having their own social and political organizations, and have been living in historical continuity in a certain area.”

 

Candelaria particularly discussed the rights of the IPs with regard to the process of development, which gives them the right to influence assessment studies by any entity, the right to participate and decide on the kind of development they need and the right to control their own economic, social and cultural development.

 

Stressing the importance of IP participation in implementing the said provisions, he said that, “The job is a partnership and the IPs and tribal peoples, through good representations in the local councils, can help government serve them better,” Candelaria said.

 

The IPs and tribal groups participating in the assembly came from Panay, Negros, Mindoro, Palawan and other parts in Luzon, who were consulted on issues and concerns which will be consolidated as inputs for the National Indigenous Peoples’ Summit on Oct. 13-14.

 

The assembly was initiated by the office of Sen. Loren Legarda and the National commission on Indigenous Peoples, to call attention on the implementation of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) which requires local government units, to appoint representatives of indigenous and tribal communities in policy and legislative councils.

 

Source: Philippines Information Agency External link




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