Manila, PHILIPPINES - More than a hundred indigenous peoples, coming from different tribes from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, have gathered last October 13 at the National Museum in Manila in the first ever national Indigenous Peoples Cultural Summit.
The summit, organized by Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, was the culminating event of the three regional assemblies that brought to light the different concerns that various indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) in the three major regions of the Philippines would want the government to address.
The regional assemblies brought out the common concerns of the indigenous peoples’ rights to ancestral lands and domains, self-determination, governance, human rights and social justice.
A presentation on the Convention No. 169 of the International Labor organization vis-à-vis the Philippine Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) was given, as well as the flagship projects for indigenous peoples by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples.
Convention No.169 is a legally binding international instrument open to ratification, which deals specifically with the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples. The Philippines has not ratified Convention No. 169 and there were once again calls from the summit participants for the Philippine government to ratify said convention.
Dr. Bernd Liss of GIZ and Forester Marlea Muñez of CoDe REDD shared REDD Plus initiatives in the Philippines, with particular focus on its implications to IPs. This includes improved environmental services, income and livelihood, carbon credits, security of tenure, stabilization of rural areas and rural development.