/ 10 August 2023

SENATE President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda on Wednesday highlighted the importance of the next generation of indigenous people as they hold the key in preserving their culture.

Legarda, the principal sponsor of Republic Act 10689 or An Act Declaring August 9 as National Indigenous Peoples Day, said indigenous youth are agents of self-determination.

“Amidst the threat posed by various factors such as climate change and injustice, the indigenous youth must have a voice that could be heard so that change may be implemented for the better,” Legarda said.

“The use of technology and developing new skills to offer solutions is crucial for preserving their way of living and to help mitigate the effects of climate change, and building bridges with the past and future generations,” she added.

To address the needs of indigenous peoples in the country, Legarda has filed numerous measures in her many years serving as a lawmaker.

During the 19th Congress, she filed Senate Bill 831, or the Indigenous Community Conserved Territories and Areas Act; SB 838, or the Resource Centers for Indigenous Peoples Act; SB 839, or the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act; SB 1340, or the Philippine Indigenous Games Preservation Act; and SB 1841 or An Act Amending Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

The senator also pushed for the Senate’s concurrence on the agreement between the Philippines and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization on establishing a Southeast Asian Center for Lifelong Learning for Sustainable Development, which seeks to develop and provide appropriate learning to underserved members of the population, such as indigenous people.

The senator vowed to continue to champion the cause of indigenous peoples by helping pass bills into law that would benefit them.

“The indigenous people hold an important role in the development of our nation as a whole; it is our duty to thank them by treating them with importance and respect,” Legarda said.

August 9 was also declared as International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples by the United Nations, under the title of Indigenous youth as agents of change for self-determination.