They are called by many names: minorities, tribal communities, cultural commnunities, ethnic communities,
indigenous peoples. They are the igorots, bungkalots, negritoes, mangyans, lumads, muslims, etc. They are a particular group
of people who have continuously lived as an organized community in a defined territory under claim of ownership since time
immemorial. They are often maligned, looked down, marginalized, and worse dispossessed of their ancestral lands. But they
have learned to fight for their rights and make their presence felt in the national consciousness.
The government is hopefully listening to their plight. The 1987 Constitution devotes particular sections for
them to wit:
The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of
national unity and development. (Article II Section 22)
The State shall recognize, respect, and protect the rights of indigenous cultural communities to preserve
and develop their cultures, traditions, and institutions. It shall cosider these rigths in the formulation of national plans
and policies. (Article XIV Section 17)
Other parts of the constitution such as Article VI, Section 5(2), Article XII, Section 5, Article XII, Section 6
and Article XVI, Section 12 provides for the inclusion of cultural communities in the selection/election of sectoral representatives,
protection of their economic, social, and cultural well-being, agrarian reform subject to the rights
of indigenous communities to their ancestral lands, and the creation of a consultative body to advise the President on
policies affecting them.
To give flesh to these constitutional provisions, Congress enacted RA No. 8371 or the Indigenous Peoples Rights
Act on October 29, 1997.
Known tribal groups are distributed throughout the Philippines as follows:
A. Cordillera Region
B. Cagayan Valley
C. Central Luzon
- Pinatubo (Aeta)
D. Mindoro Island
E. Palawan Island
- Tau't Bato
F. Western Visayas Region
E. Mindanao Island
- Jama Mapun
This list is by no means complete. By and large, they are representative of the people we call indigenous.