Legal Framework
Article 13 of the latest Draft of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous
Peoples: states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to manifest, practice, develop and teach their spiritual and religious traditions, customs and ceremonies; the right to maintain, protect, and have access in privacy to their religious and cultural sites; the right to the use and control of ceremonial objects; and the right to the repatriation of human remains.

Furthermore, Article 14 of the same draft states:

Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.

Article XIV, Section 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution also states that:

"Education for the Filipinos shall be rooted in their culture and tradition, which are anchored on positive values and beliefs of the people. It shall develop and enlighten a nationalistic citizenry imbued with democratic ideals, unselfish in their commitment to serve the national community and proud of being Filipinos, yet receptive to international development. It shall further develop God-loving, creative disciplined, productive and self reliant citizens leading to meaningful lives."

Republic Act 8371 also known as "The Indigenous Peoples Rights Act of 1997" Sec. 29 provides:

The state shall respect, recognize and protect the right of the ICCs/IPs to preserve and protect their culture, traditions and institutions. It shall consider these rights in the formulation of national plans and policies.

Sec. 30 of the same Act also states:

The State shall provide equal access to various cultural opportunities to the ICCs/IPs through the educational system, public or cultural entities, scholarships, grants and other incentives without prejudice to their right to establish and control their educational systems and institutions by providing education in their own language, in a manner appropriate to their cultural methods of teaching and learning. Indigenous children/youth shall have the right to all levels and forms of education of the State.

Furthermore, Sec. 34 of the same Act talks on the Right to Indigenous Knowledge Systems and Practices and to Develop own Sciences and Technologies:

ICCs/IPs are entitled to the recognition of the full ownership and control and protection of their cultural and intellectual rights. They shall have the right to special measures to control, develop and protect their sciences, technologies and cultural manifestations, including human and other genetic resources, seeds, including derivatives of these resources, traditional medicines and health practices, vital medicinal plants, animals and minerals, indigenous knowledge systems and practices, knowledge of the properties of fauna and flora, oral traditions, literature, designs, and visual and performing arts.

Catholic Bishops of the Philippines’ stand on the country’s indigenous peoples affirms that:

Policies and programs should always keep in mind the promotion and protection of the interests of our indigenous peoples in the areas of economic development, cultural preservation, and participation in political decisions.”

The Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (CICM), Philippine Province, puts the apostolate for the Indigenous Peoples as their foremost concern. In his letter to his confreres, Rev. Romeo Nimez, CICM, provincial superior, wrote:

"Based on the results of the survey on the missionary priority of the Province, the PG thus recognizes that apostolate among the indigenous peoples and in our schools are the top missionary priorities in the RP at the moment. This being so, the PG believes that serious and concerted reflection should be continued on all levels in the Province, particularly with regards to the question, what does it mean when we say that the IP and educational apostolates are the missionary priorities in RP in line with our vision as a province…."