Senator Loren Legarda will convene today the last Regional Indigenous Peoples Assembly at the Provincial Capitol of Iloilo in Iloilo City.
Legarda said that the Visayas Assembly will complete the information needed to come up with an IP development agenda of the government, which will be presented in the National Indigenous Cultural Summit.
“The indigenous peoples groups in Luzon called for the effective implementation and harmonization of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), mining and environmental laws, and policies of the government; while the indigenous cultural communities in Mindanao stressed the need for the implementation of the provision of the IPRA that requires LGUs to appoint IP representatives in policy-making bodies and legislative councils,” she explained.
“Our IPs in Visayas and island provinces in Luzon surely have their own concerns that they would want the government to prioritize and that is what we must find out in this assembly,” she added.
The Senator stressed that every IP group has its priority concern, which is why the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, which she chairs, decided to bring its consultations in the three major regions of the country.
“We want a clear understanding of their needs so that we can pattern our proposed measures, and urge the government to design their programs, according to the issues that were raised in these regional assemblies. I am glad that our IPs took this opportunity to make their voices heard,” Legarda said.
Among the IP groups participating in the assembly are the Akeanon-Bukidnon, Ati, Iraynon-Bukidnon, Panay Bukidnon, Bukidnon-Karulano, Bukidnon-Magahat, Ata, Bukidnon, Escaya, Badjao, Batak, Pala’wan, Tagbanua-Calamianen, Tagbanua, Iraya, Tao-buid, Buhid, Alangan, Tadyawan Mangyan, Alangan Mangyan, Buhid Mangyan, Hanunuo Mangyan, Bantoanon, and the Sibuyan Mangyan.***