Press Release
October 9, 2011

Indigenous Groups in the Country to Converge in First Indigenous
Peoples Cultural Summit

The Senate Committee on Cultural Communities will gather the leaders of various indigenous peoples (IP) groups in the country in the first ever National Indigenous Cultural Summit on October 13, 2011.

Senator Loren Legarda, the chair of the committee, is organizing this initiative with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, Department of Tourism, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the International Labor Organization, and the German Technical Cooperation, among various partners.

The Summit is 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 country would want the government to address.

"The purpose of the regional assemblies in Baguio City, Tagum City, and Iloilo City in the past weeks is to hear out the indigenous peoples' unmet needs and come up with possible resolutions on these concerns. These assemblies also served as venues where the talents, skills and cultural diversity of our ICCs were showcased," Legarda explained.

"Through these regional assemblies, we realized that, the indigenous peoples' rights to ancestral lands and domains, self-determination and governance and social justice and human rights must be further advanced. The Summit aims to reinforce the voices of IPs as they articulate their struggles, through firm and fervent multi-stakeholder support for cultural survival," Legarda stressed.

The Summit will present the results of the regional assemblies and the inter-agency flagship projects for IPs. There will also be a plenary discussion on IP concerns to ensure that all the main issues of ICCs are covered.

The Summit will also showcase the indigenous artistry of various IP groups through cultural presentations and an IP exhibit.

"Cultural identity is the core and indispensable source of socio-economic empowerment," the Senator pointed out.

"To effectively engage IPs in discourse with policy-makers and development partners, the Summit highlights the need to support the IPs in their efforts to have full mastery and confidence of their cultural identity," Legarda concluded.

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