Press Release
May 30, 2011

Legarda Seeks Protection of Indigenous Peoples' Cultural Properties

Senator Loren Legarda has sought the protection of the nation's cultural heritage through the registration of

ownership of various cultural properties of indigenous groups in the country.

As part of her advocacy to preserve and protect Philippine Heritage, Legarda filed Senate Bill 2831, The Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act, which seeks to make an inventory of all cultural properties of the various indigenous communities in the country and mandates the payment of royalties for the use of these cultural properties.

"Our indigenous peoples have suffered historical injustices in the form of discrimination, deprivation of their ancestral domains and lands, among many other human rights violations," the Senator lamented.

"There have been reported incidences wherein their indigenous knowledge, dances, designs are being stolen by local and foreign entities, further marginalizing our indigenous communities and depriving them of their cultural property, their identity which has been passed on from their ancestors," she added.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, explained that the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act (RA 8371) does not provide for specific provisions for the protection of their cultural properties. Furthermore, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines does not have the legal mandate nor the expertise or capability to undertake such protection of our indigenous cultural treasures.

"It is with the passage of this bill that this void is sought to be filled. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCAA) shall lead the creation of a comprehensive cultural archive which shall organize and make an inventory of all cultural properties of the different ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines. The NCCA shall ensure the registration of ownership to the proper ethno-linguistic group for protection of their intellectual property," she stressed.

"Through this measure we can strengthen the protection of the traditional cultural heritage of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines and support traditional artists and artisans in their contributions to their respective ethnic cultures and national heritage by ensuring that their rights are safeguarded," Legarda concluded.

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