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CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana statements on National Indigenous Peoples Month and IPRA
Photo Credits: Rappler
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) joins the entire Filipino nation in commemoration of the National Indigenous Peoples Month and the 24th year anniversary of the signing of the Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA).
The Indigenous People's (IP) month is celebrated annually on October by virtue of Proclamation No. 1906, s. 2009 which commemorates the signing of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act on 29 October 1997. The enactment of IPRA made the Philippines the first country in Asia that gave recognition to the plight of IPs in the country through legislation that recognized their marginalization in the country.
24 years since the signing of IPRA, land-related harassments, attacks, and killings continue and there remains to be the need to raise awareness on the plight of IPs and increased protection from the government. Thus, this year’s 24th IPRA celebration with the theme “The Journey of Indigenous Peoples for Genuine Recognition, Respect, and Self-Governance,” which emphasizes the struggle of IPs in attaining recognition, respect and self-governance in their cultural communities is an important commemoration to raise awareness on their culture and struggles.
Based on CHR experience, access to basic social services like health care and land-related harassments remains to be the main problem facing indigenous communities during this pandemic. Hence, we continue to call for the protection of indigenous minorities, especially children caught in conflict and those communities subject to land-grabbing. We urge local government units to do their utmost to ensure that health care and vaccines remain accessible to indigenous communities.
24 years since the passage of IPRA is a long time for us to protect our indigenous communities. Let us not fall short on our responsibilities. ###