19 February, 2019

Ensuring Fulfillment of Indigenous Peoples’ Rights in the Implementation of the SDGs

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IDWIP 2016 Group Photo

(click photo to enlarge)


(Statement of indigenous peoples in the Philippines presented to the representatives of UN bodies and government agencies during the celebration of the International Day of the World's Indigenous Peoples 2016, August 9-11, 2016.)




We, 75 indigenous men and women from 29 indigenous peoples’ groups from Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao have gathered at the University of the Philippines, Quezon City from August 9-11, 2016 to celebrate the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

We are indigenous peoples with collective rights to our lands, territories and resources as enshrined in the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA) and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).

Our intrinsic relationship to our lands, territories and resources has shaped our identities, culture, spirituality and informed our worldview that is integrated and holistic.

We reiterate that culture is integral to economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

We assert that sustainable development is underpinned by recognition, protection and fulfillment of indigenous peoples’ rights and self-determined development.

Unabated extrajudicial killings, displacements of indigenous peoples, threats to indigenous leaders and other atrocities perpetrated by government and paramilitary forces, rebels and other armed groups remain unresolved.

We, indigenous peoples are victims of war and of peace as we are unwilling hosts to armed conflicts that are not ours and yet, we have never been part of the peace negotiations. This is aggravated by the non-recognition and non-respect of our traditional conflict resolution processes and systems.

According to the UNSRRIP, all of these conflicts “are directly linked to counter-insurgency operations and the encroachment of mining companies, agri-business corporations, and illegal small scale mining and logging done mainly by paramilitary groups”.

We are the stewards of the remaining biological and cultural diversity, sustained by our indigenous knowledge and customary governance systems on resource use and management. Despite the IPRA, our right to our lands, territories and resources are not fully recognized or respected. The CADT process is tedious, expensive, complicated and problematic and does not guarantee security. Our customary ownership systems are being undermined.

We remain deprived of the most basic social services due to historical discrimination and marginalization.

Based on the current situation of our IP communities, our priorities and proposed strategies with necessary support, are presented below based on thematic areas, as follows:


1. Peace and Justice

We demand for our full and effective participation in the peace negotiation between the Philippine government and revolutionary groups:

  • Government recognition of an indigenous peoples’-created peace panel to be independent with equal negotiating power.
  • To have three (3) indigenous representatives, including one indigenous woman in the Bangsamoro Transition Commission
  • To have two (2) indigenous representatives to the GPH-MILF Peace Process Implementing Team

We call for the withdrawal of all armed groups from our communities and fully support the call for an immediate and binding ceasefire between the government and revolutionary groups. Our communities should be recognized as peace zones.

Facilitate secure return of internally-displaced indigenous persons to their communities and provide necessary support services to them.

We call for a stop to extrajudicial killings and impunity of violence and criminality, including gender-based violence. We demand justice and indemnification to all victims.

Our children should not be used and recruited by any armed groups.

We support the establishment of an indigenous peoples’ observatory and indigenous peoples’ land inquiry by the Commission on Human Rights.

Our customary justice systems should be recognized and strengthened.

We demand the demilitarization of our communities and removal of all military detachments therein. We reiterate the recognition and respect to our inherent right to the land currently under the use of Camp Omar and Camp Badre which is part the Teduray ancestral domain.


2. Poverty and Hunger

Recognize our collective ownership of our ancestral domains.

Review pending applications and facilitate the issuance of all legitimate CADT applications.

We call for support to:

  • Recognition and strengthening of traditional livelihoods and the role of women as knowledge holders
  • Capacity building on organic farming, crop diversification, project management and marketing
  • Setting up of community-based seed banks and nurseries specially to protect and sustain indigenous species 
  • Provision of appropriate agricultural technologies, capital and technical assistance
  • Strengthening indigenous farmer’s organizations, cooperatives and enterprises
  • Provision of crop insurance and emergency measures and action plans and budget should be included in LGU plans

Stop entry and expansion of large-scale agribusiness in indigenous peoples’ lands.

Stop promotion and use of genetically-modified organisms and inorganic inputs.

Sensitization in addressing appropriate solutions to local needs in the Modified Conditional Cash Transfer.

Address malnutrition and sanitation issues in indigenous peoples’ communities.


3. Provision of Basic Services


Establish public pre-schools to high schools in indigenous communities with sufficient facilities and indigenous teachers.

Ensure effective implementation of IPED:

  • Strengthen participation of IP elders in the IPED
  • Designate indigenous teachers as IPED coordinators

Support community-initiated IP schools and stop branding them as rebel supporters.

Stop the use of indigenous schools by all armed groups and fully implement Republic Act 7610 (Special Protection of Children Against Child Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act)

Review all existing curriculum and textbooks to correct discriminatory content and misrepresentation of indigenous peoples.

Ensure education of IP children in the basic curriculum in mother tongue.

Eliminate palakasan system in granting scholarships and hiring of teachers.

Provide scholarship grants to deserving indigenous students and review requirements for easier access.

Legislate the Magna Carta for Indigenous Teachers:

  • Guidelines to consider indigenous teachers who have served for at least five years will be exempted from the Licensure Examination for Teachers.
  • Ensure tenurial security of LET passer IP teachers who volunteered for at least two years. 

Health, Nutrition and Sanitation

Establish health and birthing clinics in the community with health personnel who would stay in the clinic all the time and not on a per schedule basis.

DOH to provide necessary skills training and instruments to traditional birth attendants.

Recognize and accredit indigenous midwives as eligible skilled birth attendants.

Review the Strategy Manual of Operations 2011 on Maternal Neonatal and Child Health and Nutrition and repeal local no-home-birthing ordinances.

Provide support for building potable water systems to indigenous communities and support services for their maintenance.

Recognition and strengthen the role of traditional healers and the revitalization and protection against bio-piracy of traditional medicines.


4. Economic growth and productive employment/ infrastructure and innovations

Recognition and strengthening of traditional occupations and innovations, including harnessing non-timber forest products as additional source of income.

Construction of farm-to-market roads, free irrigation systems, other agricultural facilities and other support services.

Establish water harvesting and flood control systems in indigenous communities.

Support for small-scale, community- managed renewable energy sources and projects.

Provide alternative and appropriate source of livelihood and related capacity building activities for indigenous peoples.


5. Environmental goals

We support the efforts of the government to stop mining operations which have adverse social and environmental impacts and its call for audits of mining companies, including logging and agribusiness.

Declare no-go zone for large-scale mining in the ancestral domains of indigenous peoples.

Recognition, strengthening and support of traditional territorial management and protection systems (e.g community-appointed indigenous forest guards), and community protocols.

Cancel all projects (e.g IFMA, mining, dams) which did not undergo genuine Free Prior and Informed Consent process and ensure FPIC in all future projects.

Define modalities for Payment for Ecosystems Services (PES) and Access and Benefit-Sharing (ABS) with the full and effective participation of indigenous peoples.

Recognition of indigenous peoples’ right to water and sustainable water management system.

Recognize and support indigenous peoples’ community based monitoring and information system (CBMIS). 

Recognize and support indigenous peoples’ climate change adaptation and mitigation actions and disaster risk reduction and management measures.

Provide legal, technical and financial assistance to address biodiversity and ecosystem concerns and climate change impacts.


6. Gender equality

Full implementation of the Republic Act 9262 (Anti-VAWC) and the Magna Carta of Women.

Recognize and support customary law and practices promoting the rights of indigenous women and children.

Ensure representation of indigenous women in local decision-making bodies (e.g. local development council) and other processes.

Full implementation of the GAD policy, capacitate women to access and ensure equitable allocation of GAD funds for indigenous women.

Provide capacity-building activities for indigenous children on their rights.

Provide sustainable support for indigenous women’s livelihood initiatives.

Develop measures to comprehensively address the Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women in its 64thSession to the Philippine’s combined 7th and 8th report and allocate resources for its full and effective implementation. These should be done at least in consultation with and in partnership with indigenous women and their communities.


7. Means of implementation: support needed in terms of finance, technology and innovations, and capacity building

Full and effective implementation of IPRA.

Revamp the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) and respond to and implement the recommendations of the institutional assessment of the NCIP done by UP Baguio in 2011.

Review the CALT/ CADT process and evaluate implementation of the 2012 FPIC guidelines.

Establish NCIP service centers (specifically in the ARMM areas).

Provide direct access of indigenous peoples to funds (e.g National Greening Program, People’s Survival Fund, Disaster Risk Reduction Fund, other funds). 

Ensure full and effective participation of indigenous peoples in the budgeting and finance monitoring processes.

Ensure full implementation of the Indigenous Peoples Mandatory Representative (IPMR) selection guidelines and revoke appointments through manipulation of the selection process.

Support the efforts towards ratification of ILO 169 in the Philippines.

Call for the government to invite the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples for an official mission in the Philippines in 2017.

The respect, protection and realization of our rights is the key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. For us indigenous peoples, there is no development without genuine peace and justice!


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