Excerpts from the Indigenous People’s Rights Act of 1997 (RA 8371)

Section 2: “The State shall recognize and promote all the rights of Indigenous Cultural Communities/Indigenous Peoples (ICCs/IPs)… to their ancestral domains to ensure their economic, social and cultural well being… to preserve and develop their cultures, traditions and institutions.  It shall consider these rights in the formulation of national laws and… [assure] maximum ICC/IP participation in the direction of education, health, in order to render such services more responsive to [their] needs and desires.”

Section 4: “Ancestral lands/domains shall include…not only the physical environment but the total environment including the spiritual and cultural bonds to the area which the ICCs/IPs possess, occupy and use and to which they have claims of ownership… rights to their ancestral domains shall be recognized and protected… [including] the right to claim ownership over lands traditionally and actually occupied by ICCs/IPs, sacred places, traditional hunting and fishing grounds… the right to develop, control and use lands and territories… manage and conserve natural resources within the territories and uphold the responsibilities for future generations…”

Section 15: “The ICCs/IPs shall have the right to use their own commonly accepted justice systems, conflict resolution institutions, [and] peace building processes…with their respective communities and as…compatible with the national legal system and with internationally recognized human rights.”

Section 21: “[T]he State shall, with due recognition of their distinct characteristics and identity, accord to the members of the ICCs/IPs the rights, protection and privileges enjoyed by the rest of the citizenry.  It shall extend to them the same employment rights, opportunities, basic services, educational and other rights and privileges available to every member of the society.”

Section 27: “The State shall recognize the vital role of the children and youth of ICCs/IPs in nation-building and shall…support all government programs intended for the development and rearing of the children and youth…”

Section 28: “The State shall…provide a complete, adequate and integrated system of education, relevant to the needs of the children and young people of ICC/IPs.”

Section 29: “The State shall respect, recognize and protect the right of the ICCs/IPs to preserve and protect their culture, traditions and institutions.”

Section 30: “The State shall provide equal access to various…opportunities to the ICCs/IPs through the educational system… scholarships, grants and other incentives without prejudice, [acknowledge] their right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions…providing education in their own language, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning.”

Click here for the complete copy of Republic Act No. 8371.

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