July 25, 2024

Legislation plays an important role in the crafting of programs for the development of culture despite some challenges that beset its implementation.

Kalinga Rep. Jesse Allen C. Mangaoang, chair of the House Committee on Indigenous Cultural Communities and Indigenous Peoples, stressed this in a webinar on the role of policies in agencies in the development and protection of culture spearheaded by the Sectoral Committee on Indigenous Peoples Concerns of the Cordillera Regional Development Council.

In the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), the country’s medium-term plan anchored on the socioeconomic agenda, culture is embedded as a chapter. Its role in development spans and intersects with multiple sectors and regarded as one of the pillars for achieving inclusive, sustainable, and human-centered development. 

Mangaoang  cited some proposed measures of the PDP’s strategic framework on culture, such as Modernization Act for the National Library of the Philippines, passage of the National Museum Act, ratification of the Unesco declaration on cultural diversity, commemoration of the IP Rights Act and declaration of a national non-working holiday for the recognition and promotion of the rights of IPs, strengthening the conservation and protection of the national cultural heritage, and establishment of local arts councils.

Even with the passage of various laws for cultural development, there are challenges observed and experienced that beset the implementation of strategic plans, according to Mangaoang.

Despite the government’s consistent recognition of the importance of culture in national development to landmark legislations, he said there are conflicting provisions that compromise the implementation of cultural initiatives.

There is also under representation of marginalized sectors in local councils. Culture bearers such as the IPs are either denied or limited in their right to representations in local fora despite the requirement of the mandatory representative at all levels of decision making that affect their communities, he said.

Agencies also do not have adequate resources to implement programs for cultural development.

But even with the stumbling blocks, he assured the accomplishment of the legislative agenda under the PDP in protecting and developing culture.

“Culture is fundamental to our understanding of who we are. It is the name we go back, the house in which we live, and it gives us a sense of ourselves,” he said.  – Susan C. Aro