DepEd demands respect of IP culture
MANILA, Philippines–Education Secretary Armin Luistro has instructed teachers and students wishing to portray the culture of the country’s indigenous peoples (IPs) in their work to get in touch with the community they wish to portray to obtain permission and a better appreciation for their culture.
In a memorandum, “Guidelines on the Conduct of Activities and Use of Materials Involving Aspects of Indigenous Peoples Cultures,” Luistro said coordination with the IPs is intended for accuracy and out of respect for their heritage, as well as recognition of the communities’ right to preserve their culture.
Luistro said school officials and students must first seek the permission of an IP community whose culture or artifacts they may want to present. Stereotyping and imitating the physical appearance of members of the community and referring to their garments as “costumes” are to be strictly avoided.
The secretary explained: “These guidelines seek to promote among learners and the teaching and nonteaching staff cultural sensitivity, respect for cultural diversity and a deeper understanding of the cultural expressions of indigenous peoples.”
Luistro said it was national IP education policy to eradicate all forms of discrimination against the indigenous communities, protect the intellectual property rights of IPs and address their concerns on how their cultural expressions are inappropriately projected.
The IPs said some of their artifacts had been commercialized with disregard for their symbolic or sacred meanings and some parts of their culture had been modified in presentations with no regard for their meaning.
Under the guidelines, cultural presentations and festivals should promote sensitivity to and respect for IP culture and must not be commercialized, as they aim to promote a dignified appreciation of the IP community.
The permission of the community whose culture is being presented must first be obtained and the proper context, including the sacred dimension, for the presentation of the culture must be set and aptly explained to the performers, the guidelines state.–Jeannette I. Andrade
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