Senators back creation of Department of Culture

Senators back creation of Department of Culture
Sens. Sonny Angara, Francis Escudero, Sherwin Gatchalian and seven other senators co-authored the bill seeking a creation of an independent Department of Culture.
Senate PRIB / Albert Calvelo

MANILA, Philippines — Ten senators are pushing to reorganize the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) into an independent Department of Culture.

Sen. Francis Escudero, chair of the Senate committee on education, arts and culture, sponsored Senate Bill 1528 or the "Department of Culture Act" which is now on second reading.

Sens. Sonny Angara, Bam Aquino, Nancy Binay, JV Ejercito, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, Loren Legarda, Joel Villanueva and Migs Zubiri co-authored the bill.

"The passage of this bill will further nurture and preserve our Filipino heritage by enhancing the agency's mandate and giving it more authority in implementing the programs that will promote the importance of the Philippine arts and culture," Escudero said.

The proposed Department of Culture would be mandated to "promote and develop the country's cultural traditions."

Under the proposed measure, the following agencies will be attached to the department:

  • Cultural Center of the Philippines
  • National Museum of the Philippines
  • National Historical Commission of the Philippines
  • National Library of the Philippines
  • National Archives of the Philippines
  • Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino
  • Intramuros Administration
  • National Parks Development Committee
  • Nayong Filipino Foundation
  • Film Development Council of the Philippines
  • National Book Development Board
  • Design Center of the Philippines

"The Department with its attached agencies shall be responsible for the protection, preservation, regulation, development, management, dissemination and promotion of the cultural, historical and artistic heritage and resources, with their physical and social contexts and environments, are understood as together constituting pertaining to Philippine culture for purposes of this Act," the bill read.

The department will be headed by a secretary with at least three undersecretaries and at least five assistant secretaries, together with the personnel in immediate offices.

According to Escudero, the initial funding for the Department of Culture, should the bill become a law, would come from the current year's budget for the NCCA. Subsequent budgetary appropriations, which will be not less than P2 billion, will be included in the next years. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

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