Press Release
June 7, 2011

Legarda Wants Inclusion of Ethnic Origin in Nat'l Census
to Better Address Needs of IPs

Senator Loren Legarda has proposed the inclusion of information on ethnic origin in the conduct of national census as a way to better address the needs of indigenous peoples (IP) groups.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that Senate Bill 2858 would allow the inclusion of ethnic origin in the national survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), which would be useful in determining the specific concerns of IPs in various areas and finding suitable solutions to address such matters.

"The successful implementation of laws, however well meaning they are, is anchored on the possession of relevant and accurate data, which is the basis of sound policies that in turn are translated into effective and targeted action," she explained.

"To date, the government, particularly the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), relies on estimates based on outdated figures. More than a decade has passed since the recognition of the rights of IPs through the passage of the landmark legislation Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), but there is still a dearth of information and disaggregated data on the exact population of our indigenous brothers and sisters," she added.

Under the Senator's proposed measure, the NSO shall include "ethnic origin" in its national survey and national census starting the year 2011. To serve as guides of NSO enumerators are NCIP employees, who must be knowledgeable of the different ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines, and must know the dialect and appropriate manner of talking/asking culturally-sensitive questions to members of indigenous cultural communities (ICCs).

"This bill seeks to remedy the absence of information on members of IP groups by formally including the ethnicity and ethno-linguistic variable in our national census. It is only through this knowledge that we can effectively make policies that will truly promote their welfare and address their pressing needs," Legarda concluded.

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