SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Voting unanimously with 206 votes and without abstention, the House of Representatives approved on third and final reading House Bill 8626 or the proposed “Philippine Indigenous Games Preservation Act of 2017” which seeks to preserve indigenous games to ensure that future generations of Filipinos can still enjoy them.
The bill, principally authored by Rep. Salvador Belaro (Party-list, 1-Ang Edukasyon) declares that the State, as enshrined in the Constitution, shall recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities (ICCs) within the framework of national unity and development.
The State shall take the necessary steps to preserve the indigenous peoples’ games which serve as the best avenue for self-expression and promoting peace, harmony, goodwill and camaraderie among them.
Furthermore, it states that Article 31.1 of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (IPs) enjoins all state signatories to take effective measures to recognize and protect the exercise of the indigenous peoples’ rights which include the maintenance, control, and development of their cultural heritage, traditional knowledge and traditional expression, oral tradition, literature, designs, sports and traditional games, among others.
In line with this, the bill seeks to mandate the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), to initiate measures to preserve indigenous games in the country, including 1) their inclusion in the appropriate part of the curriculum in the basic education system of the schools; 2) the preservation of such games either by documentary or other useful means; and 3) the holding of regular demonstration of such games in national events and appropriate school activities.
Likewise, the NCCA shall conduct research on the various sports traditionally played by different indigenous groups within the region to ensure the preservation and development of these games.
The Philippine Sports Commission (PSC), in coordination with the Philippine Olympic Committee (POC), and the local government units (LGUs), shall conduct annual regional and national indigenous sports competitions.
The host LGU shall have the prerogative to choose which sports events shall be included in the regional and national indigenous sports competitions.
As the lead agencies, the NCCA and the DepEd, in coordination with the PSC, POC and LGUs, shall promulgate the implementing rules and regulations of the Act 60 days after its effectivity.
Belaro said the country is rich in cultural tradition which tends to be slowly modified by the onslaught of digital modernization.
“Part of our rich cultural heritage are indigenous games such as sepak takraw and the like,” said Belaro.
Co-authors of the bill include Majority Leader Rolando Andaya, Jr. Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, Deputy Majority Leader Rodante Marcoleta, Reps. Gus Tambunting, Ann Hofer, Rhea Vergara, Anthony Bravo, Arnolfo Teves, Rogelio Pacquiao, and Cheryl Deloso-Montalla, among others. | Eddie Galvez