August 9 is National Indigenous Peoples Day

August 9 is National Indigenous Peoples Day

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/02 August) — August 9, the United Nations’ “International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples” will soon be celebrated in the Philippines as National Indigenous Peoples Day.

This, after the Senate passed on third and final reading HB 4420 which seeks to declare August 9 as “National Indigenous Peoples Day,” a press statement posted on the Senate website said.

House Bill No. 4420 is “An Act declaring 9 August as National Indigenous Peoples Day and mandating the meaningful observance thereto.”

This year’s theme for the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is “Post 2015 Agenda: Ensuring indigenous peoples’ health and well-being.”

The bill was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representatives Teddy Brawner Baguilat Jr., Nancy Catamco, Luzviminda Ilagan, Carlos Padilla, Nicasio Aliping Jr., Sitti Djalia Turabin-Hataman, among others. The House of Represenatives had earlier passed the bill on third and final reading.

The bill provides that it will be a policy of the government to “advance the rights and collective well-being of indigenous peoples through the annual observance of the National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines.”

It sais the National Indigenous Peoples Day in the Philippines “shall be observed on August 9 of each year and is hereby declared a special working holiday.”

The bill mandates the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples to “promulgate the rules and regulations for the meaningful observance of the National Indigenous Peoples Day.”

The Senate press release dated July 28, quoted Senate President Franklin Drilon as saying the approval of the measure “is part of government efforts to bring greater appreciation and attention to the rights and welfare of the indigenous people in the Philippines.”

It also quoted Senator Loren Legarda, chair of the Committee on Cultural Communities, Legarda as saying celebrating August 9 as National Indigenous Peoples Day underscores the important role indigenous people play in nation building.

“As we continue to promote measures that will benefit our indigenous communities, we also urge our indigenous peoples to likewise continue to fight for their rights and to always protect our cultural heritage,” Legarda said, adding there are 110 indigenous groups in the country, with each community possessing its own traditional knowledge and practices that “shaped our story as a Filipino people.”

“We should take pride in our cultural rootedness and recognize the people whose lives take us through many centuries of struggle to protect the land we live in, preserve the virtues we uphold and bring us back to who we are,” she said. (MindaNews)