he colonization by the Spaniards initially paved way for the Indigenous People (IPs) to be placed in a pejorative light, even to the demonization of their culture. IKSP or Indigenous Knowledge,Systems, and Practices have been bastardized and slandered in order to flush out the people from their mountains and into their house of praise - calling IPs Infieles (unfaithful) or Salvajes (savage or wild). The Americans, with the soft power of education, further meld and imbibed in us a culture of white-washing and shaming those who would not meet their pigmentation standards and while both Caucasian races wounded not only the IPs in their pursuit of acculturation, they too, transferred our pride from rooting the IPs to the mere pride of being colonized by them (Montanyosa, 2014). Stepping on our IP heritage also envelopes the problem of lowering our women’s value: the status of babaylans and binukots for example, who wielded cultural, spiritual, and sometimes politico-economic prowess became diluted as the aswang, manananggal, and other evil creatures permeated our culture in the attempt to solidify Christian Patriarchy.
The question then needs to be asked - has our sovereignty and freedom for the past century been beneficial to our already shrunken cultural minority? Did it create positive change for our indigenous brothers and sisters?
In this day and age, the not-so-socially aware Filipino might even ask an Igorot or an Aeta, or any IP some very bizarre and superfluous queries such as: is it true that you have tails attached to your bodies? How did you learn to speak Tagalog? Do you live in trees? - such questions not only insult the ones asked, but it is a perfervid indication that most of our countrymen remain ignorant and obviously lack the proper information (as it can be pinpointed to our colonial and commercial education system).
It seems that we are doing nothing, but many officials say otherwise.
The government, of course, plays an important role in the promotion of IP culture as well as engendering the 14 percent of our population to be well heard in regulation making and implementation -specifically the distribution of their ancestral lands (Hechanova, 2015). The Office on Northern Cultural Communities and its southern counterpart, the Office on Southern Cultural Communities have been merged into the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) with the Republic Act 8371(Indigenous Peoples Right Act) of 1997 as its forerunner in strengthening and supporting its existence in the executive wing of our government. The main purpose of this RA is to acknowledge and recognize in the legislative aspect, the rights of the IPs to their ancestral domains. Unfortunately, the gap between the de jure or lawful recognition of IPs’ rights and their de facto or in-reality concretization of land claims merely mirror the fact that there is no clear on-ground implementation of said act (“Philippines Indigenous Peoples ICERD Shadow Report”, 2009); to add to this troubling realization, the Regalian Doctrine often times encompasses the ancestral claims - as it is present from the governing laws of the Spanish colonization in our country and even in our current constitution (“WHAT IS THE CONCEPT OF JURE REGALIA?”, n.d.):. The