GSIS Theater, Pasay City
October 30, 2012

President Benigno S. Aquino III stated the historical and cultural importance of Filipino indigenous peoples during the 15th anniversary of the passage of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA) at the GSIS Theater in Pasay City.

“Nagtitipon tayo, hindi lang para magbalik-tanaw sa mga tagumpay na ibinunga ng R.A. 8371. Narito tayo upang higit pang paigtingin ang ating dedikasyon sa paglinang at pagbibigay-lakas sa ating mga katutubo bilang mahalagang bahagi ng ating kultura’t lipunan,” the President said.

He mentioned that his administration aims to provide programs which will promote equal rights and opportunity among the members of indigenous groups including the signing of Executive Order No. 11. It granted the relocation of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) office from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to the Office of the President. In such way, the needs, aspirations as well as complaints of the native groups are easily addressed by the government.

The President also said that the P20 million allotted yearly for the delineation of ancestral domain has resulted to the titling of 300,000 land hectares. He stated that as of year 2012, 158 certificates of ancestral domain titles are distributed to almost one million claimants. This number includes the release of two certificates of ancestral domain titles (CADTs) and four certificates of ancestral land titles (CALTs) to Pangalawang Pundador Rodolfo Aguilar and Paula Langguyod, Panlima Amparay Das and Panlima Angelito Sanukay, heirs of Elizabeth Mat-an, Lydia Bidos, Dominador Galian and Virginia Cuyan-Panganiban during the event.

President Aquino also led the distribution of plaques of recognition to individuals and organizations that helped in the passage of IPRA. The awardees include former congressmen Jeremias Zapata and William Claver, former senator Juan Flavier, former ambassador Howard Dee, the Commission on Human Rights, Gazton Z. Ortigas Peace Institute, Interim National Indigenous Peoples Council and his mother, former president Corazon Aquino.

Mylinar Ligligen, Edmar Fronda and Krichelle Mei Cariño are three of the one hundred indigenous students who were awarded in the ceremony with the merit-based scholarship worth P25,000 per semester.

The Chief Executive was accompanied by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, Government Service Insurance System Chairman Daniel Lacson Jr. and NICP Chairman Zenaida Brigida Pawid.


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