February 7, 2023

Aug. 9 is now declared as the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples in Baguio City.

The ordinance institutionalizing the celebration was approved Mayor Benjamin Magalong on Oct. 7.

Councilor Arthur Allad-iw, proponent of the ordinance, said the celebration aims to bolster the awareness and involvement of indigenous peoples groups and non-IPs in issues related to culture, education, health, human rights, environment, and social and economic development.

Activities during the celebration will include health fairs and dental services such as tooth extraction, blood typing, and blood pressure check.  There will also be free legal services such as notarization of documents and provision of legal advice.

There will also be cultural presentations and forums relevant to issues affecting IPs.

The celebration of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples will also be included in the calendar of activities of the city.

The ordinance stipulates that “non-indigenous peoples who are residents of Baguio City shall not be denied access to these services and activities.”

The amount of P200,000 will be appropriated for the purpose and will be included in the annual budget of the city government.

In the ordinance, Allad-iw noted Section 17, Article 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which states that “the State shall recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation of national plans and policies.”

The aim of the ordinance is aligned with that of the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples which is celebrated every Aug. 9.  

Allad-iw said the celebration “significantly strengthened international cooperation in solving problems faced by the world’s indigenous peoples especially in areas such as culture, education, health, human rights, environment, and social and economic development.”  – Jordan G. Habbiling