CULTURE is recognized as essential component of formulating policies and designing of development interventions.

I attended the first quarter meeting of the Committee of Indigenous Peoples Concerns (CIPC) of the Regional Development Council as a representative of my office and one of the agenda that got me particularly interested is the creation of art councils in local government units.

I knew that the creation of local culture and arts councils in cities and municipalities was an old bill and I am glad that the new leadership of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts is pushing for its implementation.

During said meeting, representatives of NCCA discussed what the act is all about and also asked CIPC to support the bill being proposed in Congress creating Department of Culture which will likewise create regional offices that serves as the local NCCA in the region.

NCIP Director Roland Calde raised the matter to the committee which unanimously approved for endorsement to the RDC en banc.

Also tackled during the meeting was an orientation of regional stakeholders in the implementation of Philippine Indigenous People’s Ethnographies where members of the academe and local historians can help document Cordillera’s wide baseline information about the various ethno-linguistic groups and sub tribes.

My Bago cultural alliance according to the NCIP Director is classified among the sub groupings of the major upland tribe. Since my father’s clan belongs to the Kankanays of the old Mountain Province district that are now part of Ilocos Sur and presumably the early natives who embraced lowland life and Religion too, perhaps there is truth to the notion of some that we are the “bagong Kristyano” that eventually referred to as Bago.

In the discussion, the NCCA official said that culture is now part of the National Development Plan. It encourages us to help in the socio-economic goals. It further promotes Filipino identity that can be nurtured for our common good. In CAR, we need to heighten cultural awareness and appreciation through educational means like the School of Living Traditions (SLT) and the creation of Local Culture and Arts Council.

Perhaps with Baguio as Unesco designated creative city and NCCA supporting local culture and arts, Baguio can also serve as model LGU in as far as arts and culture is concerned.

The CIPC unanimously endorsed said bill hoping that Cordillera leaders will likewise support it when tackled in the house of congress.

In their presentation on cultural collaborations, building partnerships and promoting Philippine culture and values, Jeremy Chan and Mark dela Cruz of NCCA discussed priority areas that include safeguarding and enshrining our cultural heritage, sustaining and enhancing cultural assets to foster creativity and innovations for socio-economic growth.

With the establishment of a Department of Culture, convening of art councils in local government units and involvement of local artists groups, culture and historical custodians, I can already visualize a smooth road leading towards creative economy.

As of this writing using my smartphone, I am in Davao attending the National Information Convention which brought communicators and government advocates to Mindanao for a history in the making in as far as government communication is concerned.

With my participation as a delegate representing my office and the Association of Government Information Officers-Cordillera, I hope to enrich my views and perspectives taking into account the very purpose why we are here. With topics like, “Malasakit, pagbabago at patuloy na pag-unlad, Empowering Communities” etc., we hope to be part of an exercise that lifts up the country and rise above trending fake news.