Loren bats for non-discrimination against indigenous peoples in RP

  • October 18, 2009

Sen. Loren Legarda called for faster economic development of cultural minorities and non-discrimination against indigenous peoples in a privilege speech in the Senate on Wednesday, in observance of Indigenous Peoples’ (IP’s) Month.

While acknowledging the advances made by the indigenous peoples after the passage 12 years ago of Indigenous People’s Rights Act (IPRA) of 1997, Loren said there is still a need to wipe out all acts of discrimination against the IP’s in order to enforce racial equality.

“We need to sustain our efforts to promote and protect the indigenous cultural communities and indigenous peoples. There is a need to pump-prime the efforts of these communities by infusing funds necessary to develop the four million hectares of land awarded by way of Certificate of Ancestral Domain Titles (CADTs) and Certificates of Ancestral Land Titles (CALTs),” said Loren.

“This way, we can make the communities not only self-sufficient but provide them with a chance to contribute the produce derived from their lands to the Philippine economy.”

To complement the IPRA, Loren said she has filed Senate Bill No. 2594, entitled an “Anti-Religious and Racial Profiling Act of 2008,” seeking to protect the country’s indigenous cultural communities from being stereotyped.

“The bill promotes a society that values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights, regardless of race, religion and ethnicity.”

Under the bill, the following acts will be prohibited:

“Subjecting a person to unnecessary, unjustified, illegal and degrading search because of his manner of clothing or by reason of his religion, color, creed or ethnic identity;

“Discriminating a person who is applying for a job just because of his name, religion or ethnic background;

“Disallowing an individual from entering any establishment or subjecting him to discrimination or harassment because he happens to don a peculiar attire;

“Employing religious characterization such as words of religious import in print and broadcast media when geographic, political, socio- economic or other distinction might be more accurate;

“Mimicking or imitating a person’s way of speaking particularly his peculiar accent and diction in an insulting and degrading manner.”

Loren also deplored that as per finding of the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous peoples, indigenous women face double discrimination in many areas of the world.

“Indigenous women struggle against language, culture, religion and class discrimination. In conflict areas, indigenous women struggle against violence and displacement from their communities,” she said.

She also stressed that the protection of the entire population from climate change and disaster risk must be equally offered to all.

“The poor, including our indigenous populations, are the most vulnerable when climate-related disasters strike and to the effects of the change in climate … To be absolute in our national campaign against climate change and disaster risk, the indigenous communities and their rights must be included and considered,” she declared.

“The work of empowering our indigenous cultural communities and its people continues to this day. Clearly, we have to work harder this time to make sure that the gains of the past will not go to waste. Let us continue supporting the indigenous cultural communities and its peoples.”

  • October 18, 2009 |
  • Posted in News |
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