Philippines hosts international conference on indigenous peoples

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2019 03:37 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2019 04:51 PM

An indigenous peoples community in Zambales, Philippines is shown in this contributed photo. The Philippines will host on Dec. 4-6 an international conference on IPs. Contributed photo

An indigenous peoples community in Zambales, Philippines is shown in this contributed photo. The Philippines will host on Dec. 4-6 an international conference on IPs. Contributed photo

An indigenous peoples community in Zambales, Philippines is shown in this contributed photo. The Philippines will host on Dec. 4-6 an international conference on IPs. Contributed photo

MANILA -- The Philippines will host in December an international conference that seeks to highlight the knowledge, skills and practices of indigenous peoples, seeking to empower the culturally distinct societies, an organizer said.

Lack of knowledge on IP culture leads to inadequate or improper response by governments to their needs. The conference seeks to address this by promoting a grassroots and research-based approach, said anthropologist Tess de Guzman, chairperson of the Department of Behavioral Sciences at the University of the Philippines-Manila.

In the Philippines, IP communities can be displaced by mining projects and relocated to areas where there is no source of livelihood to match their skills, De Guzman said.

When the Pinatubo volcano erupted in 1991, the Aetas were shifted to evacuation centers, mostly covered courts, where they were prevented from practicing their rituals that must be done after such a natural calamity, she said.

"The indigenous people believe there are spirits in the environment and these beliefs should be preserved and respected," De Guzman told ABS-CBN News.

The beliefs and traditions of the IPs should also be considered when delivering government services such as health care as they also have traditional medicine, she said.

Raising awareness on IPs will also protect them against discrimination, De Guzman said.

The International Conference on Indigenous Knowledge, Systems and Practices will be held on Dec. 4-6 at the Swiss-Belhotel Bluelane, co-presented by UP Manila. More details are available on the registration website.