Former three-term Senator and Deputy Speaker Loren Legarda has called for the protection of the indigenous peoples’ weaves and traditional cultural heritage following news reports of machine-woven blankets and garments appropriating Cordillera weave patterns coming into the local market from abroad.
This influx, Legarda said, has greatly affected small businesses in the Cordillera region.
“The traditional cultural heritage of our indigenous peoples and communities must be given the protection it deserves. Aside from the vulnerability of these rural livelihoods, we must also look into the protection of their traditional intellectual property. This is not just market competition. The imports are undercutting our artisans and weavers to the detriment of sustaining their culture and creative productivity,” Legarda said over the weekend.
Traditional cultural heritage includes cultural expressions through writings, songs, performances, traditional arts and crafts, to name a few.
The former senator filed HB 7811 or An Act Safeguarding the Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which aims to create a comprehensive cultural archive that will organize and provide an inventory of all cultural properties of the different ethno-linguistic groups of the Philippines.
Additionally, the bill also mandates the payment of royalties for the use of the cultural property of the IPs.
“To prevent possible abuses or the exploitation of our cultural heritage, this bill hopes to fill the gaps and apply the conventional forms of intellectual property, like copyright, royalty, and ownership. It has broader coverage for royalties that will compensate communities for their collective and individual creative expression and extends intellectual property rights past 50 years,” Legarda said.
“Cultural appropriation is currently caught and called out in social media, but we must ensure that legal protections and remedies are available and supported by government through a clear system of registration easily accessible to indigenous peoples and communities,” Legarda added.