Friday, November 8, 2013
MANILA-Senator Loren Legarda today said she will actively pursue proposed measures aimed at promoting intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace, which UNESCO advocates.
Legarda, head of the Philippine Delegation to the 37th UNESCO General Conference in Paris, France, said that the Philippines, being a historically plural and multi-ethnic society, should be at the forefront of efforts to promote unity among diversity.
“There are 110 indigenous peoples groups in the Philippines and each island and province in the country has its own culture. But despite the difference in traditions, belief systems and faith, in the end, we are all Filipinos. It is the same with nations, we may be governed by different laws and customs but we must be united because we live in only one planet which we must care for,” she stressed.
“In line with this, we must give due importance to our respective cultures as we strive to understand the culture of other groups and nations,” said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities.
The Senator has filed several proposed measures in the Senate that aim to promote unity among diversity, primarily by providing equal rights and opportunities to ethnic groups and indigenous peoples, which have significant contributions to the story of the Filipino people.
Senate Bill No. 1391, which will create the Department of Culture, will reorganize the existing National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and ensure its place in the priorities of the government.
Senate Bill No. 105 seeks to preserve the country’s traditional folk arts through the regional museums of the National Museum.
“With these regional museums showcasing traditional folk arts, we hope to start a cultural revolution through an immersion in the Philippine art from the ordinary folks of old,” said Legarda.
Meanwhile, Senate Bill No. 669, which seeks to safeguard the traditional property rights of IPs starting with the inventory of all cultural properties of the various indigenous communities in the country.
Senate Bill No. 515 will require government offices and private enterprises in areas where members of indigenous cultural communities are predominantly located, to give preferential employment to IPs, who must constitute at least 10% of their work force.
Senate Bill No. 534 aims to include ethnic origin in the National Survey conducted by the National Statistics Office (NSO), which will be useful in determining the specific concerns of IPs in various areas and finding suitable solutions to address such matters.
Senate Bill No. 1357 will prohibit profiling, violence and all forms of intolerance against persons based on ethnicity, race, religion or belief, language, disability or other status.
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