Sunday, September 25, 2022

Padilla Vows To Uphold Indigenous Peoples, Muslim Filipinos’ Rights

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Padilla Vows To Uphold Indigenous Peoples, Muslim Filipinos’ Rights

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Indigenous peoples (IPs) should not be discriminated against and deprived of their ancestral domains and should be given access to government programs, neophyte Senator Robinhood Padilla said on Thursday.

Being the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities and Muslim Affairs, Padilla stressed that IPs, just like any other Filipino, should also benefit from the country’s progress.

“Ang pag-aalaga sa ating mga katutubo at sa mga nauna rito sa bansang Inang Bayan Pilipinas, sa mga Muslim, ito po ang tinatawag nating totoong kalayaan. Sapagka’t hindi po natin pwedeng sabihin na meron tayong kalayaan dito sa bayan natin kung tayo mismo ay naging mga lokal na mananakop (Taking care of our IPs and our Muslims shows true freedom. We cannot say we are free if we play the role of local conquerors),” Padilla told the committee.

“Pagka hindi natin iniahon sa kahirapan ang ating kababayang katutubo at hindi nila tinamasa ang yaman nila sa sarili nilang mga lupa, ibig sabihin noon, wala pong kalayaan dito sa ating Inang Bayan. Naglolokohan lang po tayo (If we do not take our IPs out of poverty or protect their ancestral land, we cannot say we have freedom. We are just fooling ourselves),” Padilla said.

As the lone representative of Muslim communities in the Senate, Padilla also vowed to make the committee’s discussions productive.

“Kung kaya’t nararapat lamang na sila ay bigyan natin ng importansya na kasing-lebel ng iginagawad natin sa iba’t ibang sektor ng ating lipunan (Which is why they should be given the same level of importance that we give to other sectors of society),” he added.

The lawmaker, who was recently visited in his office by Aetas from Pampanga, went to Sitio Haduan in Mabalacat, Pampanga to find solutions to the indigenous group’s problems including finding a suitable place for them to sell their agricultural produce and building a farm-to-market road.

A warm welcome greeted the senator and his team, who crossed a hanging bridge in Haduan to hear about the indigenous people’s various issues. (PNA)

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