Rights group to host online event in commemoration of World Indigenous People’s Day

Published August 6, 2020, 12:33 PM

by Gabriela Baron

Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center (LRNRC) will host online event #IPGoals on Friday (Aug. 7) in commemoration of World Indigenous People’s Day.

(Legal Rights and Natural Resources Center)

Legislative advocacy coordinator Maya Quirino said the event will provide a “platform for indigenous leaders to share their struggle and aspirations for their land and people.”

“We are staging this event so more Filipino can learn about the situation of indigenous peoples and to honor and promote indigenous cultures. These indigenous leaders are #goals, to draw from the Internet lexicon of millennials, because they are frontliners in the care for the natural world,” Quirino told the Manila Bulletin.

According to Quirino, at the event, indigenous leaders will discuss their right to self-determination and the need to care for the environment. She also underscored the need to replicate indigenous practices that conserve the environment and “respect ecological limits.”

“These indigenous leaders are pushing for the protection of forests and watersheds which they need to sustain their communities and Filipinos, in general. Many indigenous practice sustainable agriculture which respects ecological limits. Viruses like SARS-CoV-2, which causes the COVID-19 disease, are unleashed upon human populations when the environment is disturbed or destroyed,” she said.

“Indigenous peoples are the world’s last defense against climate change. By protecting forests, they are managing and sustaining carbon sinks which we need to fight climate change,” Quirino added.

Citing United Nations data, Quirino said indigenous peoples protect 80 percent of the world’s biodiversity, a crucial role for maintaining ecological systems.

“Some indigenous communities had to evacuate just as the pandemic hit because of the eruption of armed conflict in their area. But their chief challenge remains securing their right to land, to sustainable livelihoods, and to [the] environment,” Quirino ended.

The #IPGoals event is open to the public and can be watched live on LRNRC’s Facebook page from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Also joining the event are singers Aia de Leon and Rice Lucido, performance artists Alfonso Manalastas and the Makatas, Teduray rapper Jaymar Maningula, and actor Karl Medina.

The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples is observed on Aug. 9 every year to raise awareness and protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population. The event also recognizes the contributions that indigenous people make to address world issues such as environmental protection.