Indigenous Peoples' Human Rights Observatory

The Indigenous Peoples' Human Rights Observatory (IPHRO) was conceptualized during the National Inquiry on the Human Rights Situation of Indigenous Peoples in the Philippines, which the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) spearheaded in 2017 in accordance with its mandates as provided in Article XIII, Section 18 of the 1987 Constitution. Pursuant to the CHR's strategic objective to strengthen human rights mechanisms, the IPHRO is designed to serve both as a monitoring platform and repository of data under the auspices of CHR, in collaboration with stakeholders, for a unified advocacy towards full realization of human rights of the Indigenous Peoples.

Access documents related to Indigenous Peoples' Rights

As a monitoring platform, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) convenes three partnership mechanisms through the IPHRO, i.e. inter-agency within government, civil society, and Indigenous Peoples (IP) partnerships. This effort is propelled by the need for a more independent, efficient, inclusive and responsive data sharing system, in the context of streamlining coordination for the common advocacy of fully realizing IP Rights. Through the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997 (R.A. No. 8371), the Philippines recognized four bundles of interdependent rights, namely: Rights to Ancestral Domains, Right to Self-Governance and Empowerment, Social Justice and Human Rights, and Cultural Integrity. Such unique domestic experiences would then serve as contributions of moving forward the international discourse where the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) provides the baseline template and framework. In pursuit of this advocacy, we refer to 110 ethnolinguistic IP groups of rights-holders that roughly comprise 12%-17% of the Philippine population. As such, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) is an indispensable stakeholder of the IPHRO for being mandated in R.A. No. 8371 to be the primary government agency responsible for the formulation and implementation of policies, plans and programs to recognize, protect and promote the rights of IPs in the country. In the long term, CHR envisions the IPHRO to be equipped with a more advanced monitoring and evaluation (M&E) system and quick response mechanisms to provide protection services and legal remedies to IPs. In this sense, the IPHRO is a platform that mobilizes support and resources for the protection and promotion of IP Rights.
As a repository, the IPHRO intends to be the common electronic library of human rights data and analyses that stakeholders may refer to in the conduct of human rights situation reporting, policy advocacy, and program development. Also, the current effort is geared towards presenting and analyzing information that are useful in amply highligthing the IPs' collective priorities and aspirations in order to live a life of dignity. Such data serve as bases in crafting more appropriate State policies, programs, projects and activities whereby the IPs themselves have direct hand in decision-making via the IPHRO. In this sense, the IPHRO is a system that empowers IPs.
At present, the IPHRO contains relevant Supreme Court cases involving IPs; publications of civil society and non-governmental organizations, as well as academics; government issuances and program reports; information on human rights violations committed against IPs as reported with the CHR, and other documentation about the status of IP human rights. These features also comprise information scattered in the bureacracy of the Legislative, Executive and Judicial Branches. We compile and arrange these references from all sources available to the IPHRO in making sense and better understand both the current and desired state of IP rights protection and promotion in the Philippines.

Supreme Court Cases involving Indigenous Peoples

Diosdado Sama and Bandy Masanglay v. People - Decision (G.R. No. 224469)


Diosdado Sama and Bandy Masanglay v. People - Dissenting Opinion of Associate Justice Lopez


Diosdado Sama and Bandy Masanglay v. People - Separate Concurring Opinion of Associate Justice Zalameda


Cases Filed with CHR
Involving Indigenous Peoples as Victims

Types of reported human rights violations,
including but not limited to:

Timeline of laws, policies and jurisprudence involving IPs

Legislative Enactments & Executive Issuances

Programs, Projects, and Activities for/with IPs

All stakeholders from government agencies, civil society, academe, and the IPs themselves are requested to share and showcase their respective programs, projects and activities (PPA) for and with IPs through this interactive map. More details on each PPA are shown once a location pin is clicked. For inquiries and submissions, please contact the Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Center – Commission on Human Rights through email: or telefax no. (02) 8282-1878.
Significantly at this point, the lofty ideals of protecting and promoting IP rights are made more manifest in practice through such PPAs that are visualized spatially herein. Keeping track of such efforts of all stakeholders further ensure efficient and effective allocation of resources for projects that are responsive to the needs and aspirations of the IPs, with due regard to their local context and indigenous decision-making structures.