IN CELEBRATION of Indigenous Peoples Day, Senator Loren Legarda on August 9, 2018 led the launch of the book on Panay-Guimaras traditional knowledge systems at the University of the Philippines-Visayas in Iloilo City.
The book, From the Seas to the Mountain — Panay-Guimaras Traditional Knowledge Systems, is a product of extensive research and collaborative efforts of the state universities and colleges (SUCs) in Western Visayas to document and promote the various traditional knowledge systems in the region.
“Traditional knowledge systems cover vast subjects, which include arts and crafts, music, literature, health care, agriculture, forestry, fishing, mining, architecture, and biodiversity. Indigenous communities in the Philippines have their own traditional knowledge systems that have been passed on from one generation to the next, and many of us may not recognize it, but these traditional practices have influenced our modern lifestyles,” said Legarda.
From the Seas to the Mountain features the indigenous knowledge, best practices on sustainable development and environmental conservation, and traditional belief systems of the provinces in Western Visayas. It is a collaboration among SUCs of Region VI, namely, UP Visayas, Guimaras State University, Aklan State University, Capiz State University, West Visayas State University, and University of Antique.
“As we launch this book today coinciding with the celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, it is my hope that we could encourage Filipinos to learn more about our indigenous roots through publications such as this Panay-Guimaras book on traditional knowledge systems,” said Legarda, who has been supportive of efforts to document indigenous knowledge systems in all regions in the country.
The Senator also stressed the importance of the IP Day Celebration.
“The Indigenous Peoples Day is not only an excellent opportunity to highlight the rich and vibrant culture of our IPs but also serves as a constant reminder for all of us to ensure that we provide the needed support for our IPs to strengthen their part in nation building,” said Legarda, who sponsored the law (Republic Act 10689) that declared the 9th day of August as National IP Day to coincide with the international celebration.
The Senator has filed several bills aimed at protecting the rights of IPs and promoting indigenous culture.
Senate Bill No. 379, or the proposed Traditional Property Rights of IPs Act, seeks to protect the traditional cultural heritage of IPs and support traditional artists and artisans in their contributions to their respective ethnic cultures and national heritage by ensuring that their rights are safeguarded.
The proposed Cultural Education Program Act under Senate Bill No. 387 will mandate the country’s key educational agencies to collaborate and work with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in formulating and implementing plans and programs that will integrate and mainstream Philippine arts and culture in the national education system, primarily through the institutionalization of Schools of Living Traditions (SLTs).
Senate Bill No. 1185, or the proposed Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities Conserved Areas Act, seeks to acknowledge the significant contribution of conservation areas managed by IPs in maintaining the country’s biodiversity as well as in climate change mitigation.
Legarda also filed the IP Resource Centers Bill under Senate Bill No. 414. The IP Resource Centers, to be partnered with SUCs, will serve as venues to promote participatory programs and projects for IPs, to effectively deliver their responsibilities under the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), and to ensure implementation of their respective Ancestral Domain Sustainable Development and Protection Plans.
“Much needs to be done, and I hope we could all continue our efforts in this advocacy and realize our vision of a nation that truly honors and accepts the diversity and richness of our cultural heritage, which is the very soul and identity of the Filipino,” Legarda concluded.