Human Rights Council: 43rd Regular Session

General Assembly Hall, Palais des Nations

11 March 2020

Agenda Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Minorities


General Debate


Speaking time: 1 min. 30 sec.

Thank you, Mister Vice-President.

Over 100 languages are spoken by various ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines. Our landmark Indigenous Peoples Rights Act duly recognizes the role of education and language in upholding indigenous cultural integrity and provides means for ensuring these rights.

The Philippine government, through the National Indigenous Peoples Education Program, prioritizes mother tongue-based multilingual education and the development of culturally appropriate learning resources. The program directly serves over 90,000 IP learners using 112 indigenous languages.

            With respect to the theme of the report, we flag that there are parties who use education and language to violate the rights of minorities and IPs. In the Philippines, the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), a terrorist group, has been using IP private schools to train and recruit children for armed combat.

This group presents itself to the international community as human rights defenders and are the same ones who promote the use of politically-biased term “paramilitaries” to refer to indigenous warriors, mocking indigenous identity and disrespecting customary laws which duly recognize the legitimate role of tribal warriors in the defense of their ancestral domains against external aggressors.

            We should guard against the misuse and exploitation of education and language to denigrate cultural identity and violate human rights.

            Thank you, Mister Vice-President. END.