The Struggles of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines: UP IHR Lawyer Presents Research In Australia
Surfacing the plight of Indigenous Peoples, IHR Senior Legal Associate Atty. Raymond Marvic C. Baguilat presented his research entitled, “Persistent and Continuing Struggles: The Status of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines” in the International Research Forum on the Philippines 2019 that was held at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia on the 11th and 12th of November 2019.
In his presentation, Atty. Baguilat discussed the modernity brought about by the shift in the recognition of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines through the 1987 Constitution and the passage of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA). Atty. Baguilat, however, bewails that despite the supposed normative effects of these laws, it failed to translate to the realization of social justice.
Atty. Baguilat highlighted the problems plaguing the IPRA, the historical antecedents that impeded its implementation, the existence of development aggression driven by extractive industries, IPs lack of access to justice, and societal ignorance resulting to their discrimination.
Atty. Baguilat, presented ways forward to help in addressing these issues. The prescriptions include first, providing legal aid to Indigenous Peoples (educating them about their rights and vernacularizing legal instruments to help them understand the law); Second, pushing for educational measures that correct prior misconceptions maintained by mainstream society, explaining the need for inclusiveness rather than assimilation, and explaining the distinctiveness and culture of IPs; Third, Atty. Baguilat strongly pushed for the passage of the long-stalled Universal Anti-Discrimination law; Finally, Atty. Baguilat raised that legal aid programs should be developed to hold governments and extractive industries accountable for their failure to respect the rights of IPs.