Monday, June 6, 2011

Legarda bats for national census of indigenous ethnic origin groups

SENATE OFFICE, Manila, June 7, 2011-To better address the needs of indigenous peoples (IP) groups, Senator Loren Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities has proposed the inclusion of information on ethnic origin in the conduct of national census under Senate Bill 2858 that would allow the inclusion of ethnic origin in the national survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO).

Legarda believed that this measure would be useful in determining the specific concerns of IPs in various areas and finding suitable solutions to address the exact data on them, explaining that the successful implementation of laws will be meaningful if it is anchored on the possession of relevant and accurate data which is the basis of sound policies that in turn are translated into effective and targeted action.

“Until now the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) relies on estimates based on outdated figures and more than a decade has passed since the recognition of the rights of IPs through the passage of the landmark legislation Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act of 1997 (IPRA), but there is still a dearth of information and disaggregated data on the exact population of our indigenous brothers and sisters,” Legarda said.

The NSO shall include ethnic origin in its national survey and national census starting the year 2011 under the proposed measure. To serve as guides of NSO enumerators are NCIP employees, who must be knowledgeable of the different ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines, and must know the dialect and appropriate manner of talking/asking culturally-sensitive questions to members of indigenous cultural communities (ICCs).

Legarda said that the proposed bill seeks to remedy the absence of information on members of IP groups by formally including the ethnicity and ethno-linguistic variable in the country’s national census in order to make effective policies that will promote and address them. (Jason de Asis)


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