Locating the Indigenous Peoples in the Philippine State



Using the European nation-state model as framework for state formation, the early Philippine state has systematically ignored the existence of the indigenous peoples. The attitude of incipient Philippine state was to incorporate the indigenous peoples into the mainstream population under the banner of modernization. This has been manifested in the various laws passed by the Philippine authorities during the American period up until the martial law years. Later with the enactment of the 1987 constitution and the IPRA, the position of the indigenous peoples relative to the Philippine state have been modified. As if stands today, the indigenous peoples possess legal instruments to assert their distinct world-views. It has been observed that the adjustment of this stance was made possible by the acceptance by the Philippine state of the principles of pluralism. Despite its imperfections, the pluralist state model appeals to nevertheless offer a more progressive framework for the state recognition of indigenous peoples and for the latter to express such “otherness.”

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