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PIA Press Release

PGMA signs PO 1906 declaring October as National IP Month

by GG Dumallig

Manila (17 October) -- Ethno-linguistic groups from all over the country have a reason to celebrate and be proud of their culture and traditions with the signing of Presidential Proclamation Order No. 1906 by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo declaring October of every year as "National Indigenous Peoples' Month."

SubCommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA) Commissioner Domingo A. Bakilan of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts(NCCA) disclosed this saying that the signing held last October 5, 2009, has further accorded the indigenous communities recognition and national attention.

"Presidential Proclamation No. 1906 has given our nation a legal basis to observe the Indigenous Peoples' month every October of every year," said Bakilan, who is also proponent of the proclamation.

He said that as mandated by Republic Act 7356, the NCCA has been spearheading the observation of the Indigenous Peoples Month Celebration.

This is also in pursuant to Presidential Proclamation No. 486 signed by Pres. Arroyo consistent with Presidential Proclamation No. 1124 issued by former President Fidel V. Ramos and the United Nations' General Assembly declaration of the years 2005 to 2014 as the Second International Decade of the World's Indigenous People.

But these laws he cited, did not particularly state the holding of a month-long celebration every October of every year, which had been observed for the past two years with the NCCA as the lead agency to honor the indigenous people of the country.

In the context of the Philippine Indigenous Peoples' Rights, the month of October he said should be declared as the month for a nation-wide peoples' participation in the celebration and preservation of indigenous cultural communities.

To institutionalize the IP Month observation, Bakilan on July 29, 2009, requested the NCCA Board of Commissioners (BOC) to seek the approval of Malacaņang for the issuance of a proclamation declaring October of every year as National IP Month.

With the drafting of the proposed declaration, the NCCA BOC during their regular meeting approved and endorsed the request to the Office of the President on July 31, 2009 which was later approved by the President on Oct. 5, 2009.

Said signing was in-time with the culmination of the Dungog Indigenous Peoples Festival 2009 held at the Villareal Stadium in Roxas City, Capiz from October 2 to 6, 2009.

Through Republic Act 7356, the NCCA has a mandate 'to encourage the continuing and balanced development of pluralistic culture by the people; conserve and promote the nation's historical cultural heritage; and ensure the widest dissemination of artistic and cultural products among the greatest number across the country and overseas for their appreciation and enjoyment. (PIA Kalinga) [top]

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