/ 28 February 2024

HOUSE Speaker Martin Romualdez, together with Reps. Yedda Marie Romualdez and Jude Acidre have filed a measure recognizing and institutionalizing Indigenous Peoples’ Educational Systems within the Philippine Educational Systems.

House Bill 9966 or the proposed Indigenous Peoples Education Systems Act of 2024 also mandates the establishment of guidelines for the accreditation, management, and evaluation of IP schools.

The solons stressed that in the field of education, it was reported in 2023 that the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples could not accommodate all of the requests received by their office for IP scholarship assistance.

Moreover, the lawmakers stressed that the lack of information regarding the employment outcomes of supported students underscores existing gaps in educational support.

The bill seeks to institutionalize the various existing IP Education Systems within the National Educational System to foster a Philippine Educational System that promotes inclusivity and respect for the diversity of learners in the country.

“All groups identified as IPs will be allowed to make a meaningful participation in all spheres of society, respond effectively to the changing needs and conditions, and fully exercise their rights and responsibilities as Filipino citizens,” the solons said in their explanatory note.

The bill enables the State to exercise reasonable oversight and regulation of all IP educational institutions.

The measure also seeks to fulfill the constitutional mandate to formulate national plans and policies that uphold the rights of indigenous cultural communities, safeguarding and nurturing their rich heritage, traditions, and institutions for the benefit of present and future generations.