Senate moves to declare August 9 National Indigenous Peoples DayJuly 29, 2015
MANILA – The Senate has passed on third and final reading a bill seeking to declare the 9th day of August as National Indigenous Peoples Day.
In a news release, Senator Loren Legarda, chairperson of the Committee on Cultural Communities, said House Bill 4420 seeks to recognize and protect the rights of the indigenous people across the country by dedicating August 9 to their causes.
She said the event is in line with the United Nations General Assembly’s proclamation of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples every August 9.
Senate President Franklin Drilon said that the approval of the measure is part of government efforts to bring greater appreciation and attention to the rights and welfare of the indigenous people in the Philippines.
According to Legarda, celebrating August 9 as National Indigenous Peoples Day underscores the important role indigenous people play in nation building.
“As we continue to promote measures that will benefit our indigenous communities, we also urge our indigenous peoples to likewise continue to fight for their rights and to always protect our cultural heritage,” Legarda said.
She said there are 110 indigenous groups in the country, with each community possessing its own traditional knowledge and practices. These communities, she said, had “shaped our story as a Filipino people.”
“We should take pride in our cultural rootedness and recognize the people whose lives take us through many centuries of struggle to protect the land we live in, preserve the virtues we uphold and bring us back to who we are,” Legarda said.
She said the timely approval of the measure would attest to the Senate’s commitment to champion the causes of our indigenous peoples and to engage them as active partners in the development process.
The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Nancy Catamco, Luzviminda Ilagan, Carlos Padilla, Nicasio Aliping Jr., and Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman.