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Legal Review No 16 The Philippines

No 16 The Philippines

The NCIP estimates the population of indigenous peoples in the Philippines between 12 and 15 million distributed into approximately 110 different ethnolinguistic groups or ‘cultural communities.’ But this is based on unofficial count because prior to the 2007 census, the population data did not include information on ethnicity. Some anthropologists believe that it is possible that the actual indigenous population is much bigger and might even exceed 20% of the national total. It is expected that more exact figures would be generated with the inclusion of ethnicity in the succeeding censuses of population.

De Vera (2007) estimated that indigenous peoples comprise nearly 15 percent of the country’s total population or roughly 15 million. A vast majority of these indigenous peoples dwell in the uplands which they claim as part of their traditional territories. They depend mostly on traditional swidden agriculture utilizing available upland sites and fallow areas.


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Between 2011-2012, the ICCA Consortium undertook an international-to-local analysis of a spectrum of laws relevant to ICCAs. The reports analyze the effects of laws, policies and implementing agencies on ICCAs, and explore the diversity of ways in which Indigenous peoples and local communities are using the law to sustain the resilience of their ICCAs. Goals:

  • Recognizing and supporting conservation by indigenous peoples and local communities.
  • Analyses of international law, national legislation, judgments, and institutions as they interrelate with territories and areas conserved by indigenous peoples and local communities.

The synthesis report was launched in 2012 at the World Conservation Congress (Jeju, Korea) and the 11th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (Hyderabad, India)