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III. The Philippines and the Outside World



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devera ip phl

III. The Philippines and the Outside World
The Philippines holds the distinction of being the 1
st
Country in the SEA region to enact a law recognizing the traditional rights of Indigenous Peoples over Ancestral Domains with the passage of IPRA in the past decade. This

should have established the framework for its international policy direction in dealing with issues pertaining to Indigenous Peoples rights.
The Philippines is a signatory to the Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) which lays the Internationally accepted standards on the protection of the rights and welfare of Indigenous Peoples in the conservation of natural resources within their territories. The CBD also provides a framework for the recognition of Traditional Knowledge Systems as an acceptable and viable option for the management of natural resources and the environment. The Philippine
Government’s participation in the CBD is viewed as a very progressive step towards the institutionalization of Indigenous Knowledge Systems in the framework of bio-diversity conservation.
The Philippines joined a growing number of developing countries as member of the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), a highly successful international filing system for patents that enables inventors and companies to apply for patent protection in multiple countries by submitting a single "international" application. The Philippines became the 112
th
Contracting State of the PCT when it deposited its instrument of ratification at WIPO on May 17,
2001. The Treaty became effective in the Philippines in August 17, 2001.
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Upon the ratification of the WIPO administered treaty on patents, the
Philippine Government established an Intellectual Property Office (IPO) which shall be mainly responsible for the enforcement of the terms of the treaty. The local IPO office officially conducted a consultation session specifically with
Indigenous Leaders and support groups to enable the IPO office and the stakeholder to fully comprehend the impact of the WIPO treaty in the area of
Traditional Knowledge Systems.
However, in spite of the tremendous advances made by the Indigenous
Communities along with its support groups and advocates, the Philippine
Legislature has yet to ratify the International Labor Organization Convention
169. The convention (ILO 169) is a legal international treaty that provides the basic legal standards to protect Indigenous Workers within the framework of respect for indigenous and tribal peoples’ cultures, and their distinct ways of life, and their traditions and customs. Currently, the ILO advocates for the ratification of the convention through its INDISCO programme in the Philippines.
While the Philippine has received numerous accolades for passing the landmark law IPRA, its behavior in the international arena leaves a lot to be desired. Perhaps the most glaring irony is shown by the Philippine
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WIPO: News and Events


Government’s refusal to support the adoption of the UN Draft Declaration on the
Rights of Indigenous Peoples during the historic 1
st session of the UN Human
Rights Committee last June 2006. The Philippine representative Comm. Janet
Serrano of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) as well as
Ambassador Lauro Baja of the Department of Foreign Affairs formally acknowledged in their speech the by saying that the Philippines fully supports the draft declaration and that it is (the declaration) a priority of the Government.
Surprisingly, the Philippines later adopted a position similar to Canada and New
Zealand which viewed the draft declaration as “fundamentally flawed” and thus should be discussed at a later date.
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