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NLM 2024: NCCA advocates literature as instrument for peace |

Arts and Culture

NLM 2024: NCCA advocates literature as instrument for peace

Earl D.C. Bracamonte -
NLM 2024: NCCA advocates literature as instrument for peace
The National Literature Month is celebrated annually every April by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 968 that was signed in 2015. / Earl D.C. Bracamonte

MANILA, Philippines — The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) advocates for peace in this year's celebration of National Literature Month (NLM).

Together with the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) and the National Book Development Board (NBDB), the NLM is celebrated annually every April by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 968 that was signed in 2015.

"We must spread literary works so that they reach our countrymen and receive/share the message of peace. Literature could ignite wars, but it could also be an instrument for peace," said KWF Chairman Dr. Arthur Casanova during a press briefing in Fort Santiago in Intramuros, Manila.

Under the supervision of the KWF, the Araw ni Balagtas was successfully commemorated last April 2 in three areas: Balagtas in Bulacan, Pandacan in Manila and Orion in Bataan.

April 2 was declared as Francisco "Balagtas" Baltazar Day by former president Fidel V. Ramos through Presidential Proclamation 964. The edict encourages nationwide programs and activities that celebrate Balagtas' contribution to Philippine literature and nationalism. This year marks the 236th year of remembering Balagtas.

"Any endeavor won't succeed if support is wanting. We can attain progress through peace," said NCCA Executive Director Oscar Casaysay, in his message.

The ongoing discourse will encourage the development of new literary forms, ideas and expressions through the conduct of fora and seminars, as well as discover new literary artists through performances and workshops where they can express and exhibit their works and talent.

To illustrate the point, Verlin Santos and Kid Leviste, members of the Cavite art collective Titik Poetry, presented a few spoken word pieces. Chanteuse Maan Chua regaled attendees with her poignant rendition of "Sarimanok." Chua is also the voice behind "Sayaw," the upbeat tune used in performing the Unity Dance all over the archipelago.

Other events earmarked for the NLM 2024 celebration include the Timpalak ng Tulang Senyas (poetry in sign language), the Panitikolab for emerging literary groups, the Gawad Pambansang Alagad ni Balagtas, the UMPIL Congress, Bicol Reads National Artists Bienvenido Lumbera and Levi Celerio series, the Pinoy Reads Nick Joaquin series and the Philippine Book Festival to be held in World Trade Center.

There will also be a competition in creative non-fiction. With the theme "Literature and Peace," the writing contest is intended for current college and senior high school students throughout Mindanao. Its purpose is to enable young people to demonstrate their proficiency in writing and expressing their views, thoughts and experiences regarding the theme. The call for participants began last April 8 and the announcement of winners will be on May 18.

The National Literature Month 2024 also aims to be a venue where indigenous and community knowledge, as well as traditions and history, will be the framework of various literary expressions and community activities. As many have observed, peace is not a destination but a way of life!

RELATED: 'Baraptasan': CCP launches national contest fusing rap with Balagtasan

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