Creative economy to be introduced to city officials

CITY officials will be introduced to the creative economy concept, one avenue being explored to incorporate creativity as a component of urban development in line with the city’s membership to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Creative Cities Network.

City budget officer Leticia Clemente who coordinated an executive-legislative orientation on the concept at 8 a.m. Monday, January 22, at the Baguio City Hall Multi-purpose Hall said the activity aims to acquaint city officials with the benefits and responsibilities of the creative city designation.

“This is important especially since Baguio City is the Philippines’ first in the Network,” Clemente said.

Paolo Mercado, founder of the Creative Economy Development Council of the Philippines who has been guiding the city in its Creative Cities Network endeavor will lead the speakers who also include Rhea Matute, executive director of the Design Center of the Philippines, an attached agency of the Dept. of Trade and Industry mandated to promote design as a creative tool for improving the quality and competitiveness and branding of Filipino products and University of the Philippines Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos.

Representatives from the creative sector of the city were also invited to explore the concept composed of Baguio Heritage Foundation chair and HABI: The Philippine Textile Council president Adelaida Lim for weaving; Pilak Silvercraft and Gift Shop manager Rommel Marcelo for metalcraft; Cordillera Green Network’s Gilbert Gano for carving and sculpture; University of the Cordilleras Dean Engr. Aloysius Mapalo for performing arts and music; UBBOG Cordillera Writers vice president Dumay Loinggay for literature; journalist Frank Cimatu for literature; national artist Ben Cabrera for visual arts; and Ili-Lika Artists Village for visual arts.

The concept was first presented by Mercado during the Small-Group Strategic Planning Session held last Dec. 16 organized by Rovillos and Dept. of Tourism regional director Marie Venus Tan and participated by the newly formed Baguio City Creative Council for Crafts and Folk Arts and other sectors.

Councilor Elmer Datuin who attended the session said Mercado envisions Baguio City as a model or pioneer site for creative economy where creativity will be tapped as a strategic factor in attaining sustainable development.

He said Mercado expressed willingness to work with the city in clustering the various arts groups in the categories of crafts and folk arts and create avenues by which each group can unite their efforts and work together to further develop and promote their crafts and artistry as a primary tourist attraction and the same time uplift their livelihood.

“The idea is for these loose businesses to grow into their full potential and become large-scale industries to benefit both the city and the artists through the concept of creative economy,” Datuin said.

This is in keeping with the poverty alleviation end of the 17 sustainable development goals set forth under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development which is described as a “bold new framework for development cooperation over the next 15 years.”

The creation of the local creative council is crucial to the achievement of the goals of the creative cities and the members will also form part of the committee on culture and arts that will be created by the city council through an ordinance, according to Datuin.

Baguio made it to the UNESCO’s list of creative cities worldwide as announced last November for its notable crafts and folk arts. It is the first Philippine city to be part of the global network.

"They join a Network at the frontline of UNESCO’s efforts to foster innovation and creativity as key drivers for a more sustainable and inclusive urban development," UNESCO said in a statement. (Aileen P. Refuerzo)
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