31 May 2017
CHR conducts Nat’l Inquiry on the situation of IPs
ILOILO CITYâ€”The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) held a public hearing on May 25-26, as part of a National Inquiry meant to look into the situation of indigenous peoples (IPs) in the Philippines.
â€œWe are taking account of the concerns of IPs to further promote and protect their human rights,â€ said Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, CHR Focal Commissioner on IP rights. Joining her at the inquiry was fellow CHR Commissioner Roberto Cadiz.
Leaders of different IP groups fronted issues on entitlement to their ancestral lands; access to basic social services; lack of roads, health centers, and school buildings in their communities; as well as threats to their culture and tradition, among others.
Highlighting the role of IP perspective, Commissioner Pimentel-Gana said that solutions to the IPs’ problems must always be sensitive to their culture and traditions. “When you address their problems, it must be through their eyes,” she noted.
â€œFilipino din sila (they are also Filipinos). Kaya lang (but), apparently, there is discrimination in terms of implementation of laws when it comes to them.”
Commissioner Pimentel-Gana encouraged local governments to take a more proactive role in fully implementing the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997.
â€œIf they are not doing their job, call their attention. We hold them accountable. We are like the guardian angels of the right holders. We have the right to demand from the duty bearers na do your job because it is our right to demand from you,” said Commissioner Pimentel-Gana.
The Commission is also set to do similar consultations in Luzon and Mindanao throughout the year. This initiative is supported by the CHR-Agencia EspaÃ±ola de CooperaciÃ³n Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) Governance in Justice (GOJUST) Project. The National Inquiry aims to produce a recommendatory report on IP-related problems to be endorsed to government agencies, which bear equal mandate to protect the welfare of IPs in the country. â–
Atty. Jacqueline Ann C. de Guia
Director, Public Affairs and Strategic Communication Office
Telephone No: (02) 928-5792 / 09175919833
Email address: email@example.com