President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. (File photo)

MANILA – President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. is urging all Filipinos to recognize their “Filipino-ness” by promoting pre-colonial culture through indigenous peoples (IPs).

He made this call as he joins the country in commemorating the National Indigenous Peoples’ Month and the 25th anniversary of the signing of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Act (IPRA).

In a video message, Marcos recognized the important contribution of Indigenous Cultural Communities (ICCs) and IPs in passing on living heritage to future generations.

“Tamang-tamang panahon ito para patibayin ang ating pundasyon at alalahanin natin at kilalanin natin ang ating pagka Pilipino (This is the right time to strengthen our foundation and remember and recognize our Filipino-ness),” he said.

He described indigenous cultures and traditions as “a splendid mixture of cultural jewels that together give our nation its crowning glory.”

“Alalahanin natin na ang kultura ng Pilipino ay nanggaling sa ating mga katutubo, ang mga unang mga Pilipino (Let's remember that Filipino culture comes from our natives, the first Filipinos),” he added.

Marcos also expressed hope that the event would motivate Filipinos to strive for progress and leave no Filipino behind.

The Office of the Press Secretary (OPS), meanwhile, expressed support for all government initiatives to uplift the lives of ICCs and IPs.

“Kaisa ang buong Office of the Press Secretary sa pagdiriwang ng ating bansa sa National Indigenous Peoples Month ngayong Oktubre sa pangunguna ng National Commission for Culture and the Arts (The Office of the Press Secretary is one with the nation in celebrating the National Indigenous peoples Month this October led by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts),” the OPS said on its Facebook page.

Last month, former Press Secretary Trixie Cruz-Angeles met with National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Commissioner Jennifer Sibug and members of the IP community.

During their meeting, Cruz-Angeles said the OPS will step up the information and communication campaign on the rich history and culture of IPs.

By virtue of Proclamation 1906, the National Indigenous Peoples Month is celebrated every October to support and promote IP culture and traditions.

The proclamation mandates the NCCA to cooperate with the NCIP, Office of the Muslim Affairs, Commission on Higher Education, and Technical Education and Skills Development Authority.

This year's event goes by the theme “25 Years: Fulfilling the Indigenous Peoples' Rights and Bridging the Gaps through ICCs/IPs Convergence with Partners and Stakeholders to Ensure Economic Sustainability and Security in the Ancestral Domains.”

Republic Act No. 8371 or the IPRA was signed on Oct. 29, 1997, aims to “recognize, protect and promote the rights of indigenous cultural communities/indigenous peoples.”

The Philippines’ indigenous population is estimated to make up 10 percent to 20 percent of the over 100 million total population, according to data from the International Work Group for Indigenous Affairs. (PNA)