By Leonel Abasola

RECEPTION. The Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City welcomes new cadets in this undated photo. A Senate bill wants the military and police academies to allot at least 10 percent of their enlistments to indigenous peoples. (Screenshot)

MANILA – The Senate has found more ways to promote the indigenous sector with the ultimate aim to promote equal rights.

Senator Francis Tolentino wants military and police academies to appropriate at least 10 percent of their slots to indigenous peoples’ (IP) under Senate Bill (SB) No. 1586 or the “Katutubong Tagapagtanggol” Act.

The bill recognizes and promotes the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous cultural communities and IPs and ensure that they are afforded their rights, protections and privileges with regard to recruitment and employment.

It mandates the Philippine Military Academy and Philippine National Police Academy to admit IPs to their academic programs, to be accorded the same procedures with non-IP members and must not be discriminated by reason of their physical, social cultural backgrounds and religious beliefs.

The Department of National Defense and Department of the Interior and Local Government will head the program.

Meanwhile, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. wants indigenous games preserved for future generations to build a strong  psychological base for children.

SB 1523 will be in compliance with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund declaration that play is one of the most important tools on how children gain essential knowledge and skills.

Revilla said indigenous games such as patintero, luksong tinik, taguan, sungka, and sipa that are considered markers of cultural heritage will also veer children away from gadgets and digital entertainment.

The measure tasks the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, in coordination with the Department of Education, to initiate measures to preserve traditional games.

An annual regional competition of the traditional games which may include tribal archery, blowpipe, sibat, dug-out canoe race, rock balancing, sumpit, sungka, and kadang-kadang must be held under the supervision of the Philippine Sports Commission, Philippine Olympic Committee and local government units.

The bill likewise proposes that the games be part of the curricula in the basic and higher education systems, production of documentary or other useful means, and conduct of regular demonstration in the Palarong Pambansa and other national sports events. (PNA)