Seeking to honor the indigenous peoples and their culture, House Deputy Speaker Antique Rep. Loren Legarda has sought the passage of a bill seeking to safeguard the traditional property rights of IPs.
She said the government should ensure that the traditional cultural heritage of indigenous communities is safeguarded.
“Traditional cultural heritage, whether tangible or tangible, is a vital right of indigenous communities, which must be respected and protected. However, the present law protecting indigenous peoples’ rights, namely the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (RA 9371), does not provide for specific provision for the protection of their cultural properties,” Loren said.
She noted that the Philippines has 14 to 17 million IPs who belong to 110 ethno-linguistic groups.
House Bill No. 7811 or the proposed Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act provides that the traditional cultural property, whether tangible or intangible, of all the ethno-linguistic groups that make up the people of the Philippines shall not lapse into public domain after 50 years from creation, and shall continue indefinitely to be exclusive property of these ethno-linguistic groups that communally own them.
Traditional heritage, both tangible and intangible, are to be held in perpetuity in ethnic memory and considered valid as ethnic intellectual property, the measure provides.
Loren said the bill seeks the creation of a comprehensive cultural archive which provides an inventory of all cultural properties of the different ethno-linguistic groups of the country. The inventories of cultural properties shall be organized under the guidance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and National Museum or any other pertinent national cultural agency, the local government units (LGUs), with the assistance of the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples (NCIP).
“The bill also mandates the payment of royalties for the use of the cultural property of the indigenous groups,” she said.
HB 7811 tasks the NCCA to implement the provisions of the proposed Act.
“To prevent possible abuses on the exploitation of our IPs’ cultural heritage, this bill will be a source of their traditional intellectual property using the standards of the conventional intellectual property system,” Loren said.
“This will also fill the gap in the legal protection afforded to the works resulting from traditional knowledge and apply the conventional from of intellectual property like copyright, royalty, and ownership,” she added.