Culture body exec says IPs offer peace lessonsOctober 24, 2015
ANGELES CITY—Indigenous peoples (IPs) live peaceful lives and offer valuable lessons in peacemaking, according to an official of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).
“Our culture involves different elements, rituals and processes that pertain to the promotion of peace,” said Felipe de Leon, NCCA chair, at the opening ceremonies of Dayaw 2015 (Indigenous People’s Festival) here last week.
“Many government officials do not understand the importance of indigenous culture and they don’t know the meaning of culture,” he said. “Culture is a set of skills. If we will not use the skills that we have, what will happen to us?” he added.
De Leon also said IP traditions on the environment are appropriate case studies in dealing with environmental issues because IPs are mostly forest inhabitants.
“Businessmen and politicians… are destroying our environment. They do not know how to protect our Mother Nature and the IPs know better than them,” he said.
De Leon said part of the problem is the government’s reliance on Western management principles, neglecting traditional knowledge and sciences which have worked for centuries.
The NCCA chair urged the government to approach society’s problems from an indigenous perspective.
In her address at the same event, Sen. Loren Legarda, chair of the Senate committees on climate change and on cultural communities, asked local governments to preserve local culture.
One way local governments can do this, Legarda said, is to enforce Republic Act No. 9242 (Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law) which encourages local officials to use indigenous fabrics for uniforms, which would provide a steady market for indigenous communities that still produce these fabrics.