Indigenous peoples


Key information about indigenous peoples


Indigenous population: 14.184.645 (2007, according Office of Policy Planning and Research of National Commission on Indigenous Peoples NCIP).

Total population of the country:  100.98 (in millions) according to the Philippines Statistics Authority.

UNDRIP: endorsed in 2007. 

ILO 169: not ratified.

Convention on Biological Diversity: signed: 12-06-1992; ratified: 08-10-1993; party: 06-01-1994.

Indigenous peoples living in voluntary isolation:

Indigenous Peoples in the constitution

Implicit recognition

Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines 1987. Article X, section 20 (Local Government) under the which includes ancestral domains, and preservation of the development of cultural heritage, among others.

Section 20: ''Within its territorial jurisdiction and subject to the provisions of this Constitution and national laws, the organic act of autonomous regions shall provide for legislative powers over: Administrative organization; Creation of sources of revenues; Ancestral domain and natural resources; Personal, family, and property relations; Regional urban and rural planning development; Economic, social, and tourism development; Educational policies; Preservation and development of the cultural heritage; and such other matters as may be authorized by law for the promotion of the general welfare of the people of the region’’.

The Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines  

Article XIII, section 6, agrarian a natural resources, recognize the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands, but there is NOT AN EXPLICIT recognition of IP's: ''The State shall apply the principles of agrarian reform or stewardship, whenever applicable in accordance with law, in the disposition or utilization of other natural resources, including lands of the public domain under lease or concession suitable to agriculture, subject to prior rights, homestead rights of small settlers, and the rights of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands’’.

National legislation


Republic act 8371 Law, Indigenous People's Right Act (IPRA), promulgated in 1997.

Abstract: ‘’An act to recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples, creating a national commission on indigenous peoples, establishing implementing mechanisms, appropriating funds therefor, and for other purposes’’.

Republic Act 9710 Magna Carta of Women, defines the marginalized sectors which includes the Indigenous Peoples 

Chapter II, (7): “Indigenous Peoples” refers to a group of people or homogenous societies identified by self-ascription and ascription by other, who have continuously lived as organized community on communally bounded and defined territory, and who have, under claims of ownership since time immemorial, occupied, possessed customs, tradition, and other distinctive cultural traits, or who have, through resistance to political, social, and cultural inroads of colonization, non-indigenous religions and culture, became historically differentiated from the majority of Filipinos. They shall likewise include peoples who are regarded as indigenous on account of their descent from the populations which inhabited the country, at the time of conquest or colonization, or at the time of inroads of non-indigenous religions and cultures, or the establishment of present state boundaries, who retain some or all of their own social, economic, cultural, and political institutions, but who may have been displaced from their traditional domains as defined under Section 3(h), Chapter II of Republic Act No. 8371, otherwise known as “The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997” (IPRA of 1997).

National institutions on Indigenous Peoples


National Commission on Indigenous Peoples

Mission: The National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is the agency of the national government of the Philippines that is responsible for protecting the rights of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines. The commission is composed of seven commissioners.

Philippine Commission on Women (PCW), Women’s Empowerment, Development and Gender Equality (WEDGE) Plan 2013−2016 

Chapter 9 is focused on Indigenous Women: ‘’Indigenous women and girls have been identified as belonging to a marginalized and vulnerable segment of the Philippine population. Affirming the provisions of the IPRA, particularly Section 26, the MCW’s provisions under Chapter V (Rights and Empowerment of Marginalized Sectors) define the rights and entitlements of IP women and girls, such as to food security and productive resources, especially their access and control of land resources. The law provides that “customary rights of women to the land, including access to and control of the fruits and benefits, shall be recognized in circumstances where private ownership is not possible, such as ancestral domain claims”.

Free prior and informed consent

National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP): Guidelines and procedures for the recognition, documentation, registration and confirmation of all sustainable traditional and indigenous forest resources management systems and practices of indigenous cultural communities or indigenous peoples in ancestral domain/land.

Section 4, Free and Prior Informed Consent (FPIC): ''refers to the consensus of all members of the ICCs/IPs to be determined in accordance with their respective customary laws and practices, free from any external manipulation, interference and coercion, and obtained after fully disclosing the intent and scope of the activity, in a language and process understandable to the community. The FPIC shall be institutionalized, recognized, documented, confirmed and be respected by the DENR, the, NCIP, LGUs and all other concerned agencies''.

Special rapporteur & other key country reports


Human rights and indigenous issues Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of indigenous people, Mr. Rodolfo Stavenhagen, submitted in accordance with Commission on Human Rights, March 5th 2003

“The Special Rapporteur is concerned with the slow pace of implementation of the provisions of IPRA, and he senses a loss of confidence among indigenous organizations in the ability or willingness of government agencies to proceed actively with its effective implementation. This perception applies especially to the crucial issue of claims to ancestral domains and the issuance of land titles to indigenous communities. If this problem is not properly and promptly addressed and the rights of indigenous peoples to land, territory and natural resources are not fully respected, it is likely that further serious social conflict and attendant human rights violations will occur. It is possible to speak here of a human rights “protection gap” for indigenous peoples’’.

ONU, United Nations Human Rights, country page - Philippines.