International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples was celebrated last August 9 by virtue of resolution 49/214 adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1994.
Every year, this day is being observed to raise awareness of the needs of the Indigenous Peoples as a population group and to promote the enjoyment of their rights, as well as the full development of their distinct cultures and communities, among others.
In the Philippines, Indigenous peoples and their rights are officially recognized and protected by the Philippine Constitution and the Republic Act 8731, also known as the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA). IPRA Law is one of the few in the world to recognize and protect the rights of IPs including the right to ancestral domain. In a report by UNDP in 2010, being a culturally diverse country, Philippines has an estimated 14- 17 million Indigenous Peoples (IPs) belonging to 110 ethno-linguistic groups.
With this year’s theme on COVID-19 and Indigenous People’s Resilience, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), joins the United Nations in recognizing how these population groups continue to demonstrate resilience and strength, through their traditional knowledge, culture, and practices, in the face of the pandemic, while confronting grave threats to their survival.
As we fight against the spread of the pandemic, the DFA, together with its Foreign Service Posts, will ensure that no one, including indigenous peoples, will be left behind. (Department of Foreign Affairs, Republic of the Philippines)