Keynote Speech: NCCA 8th Ani ng Dangal Awards

February 29, 2016


Keynote Speech of Senator Loren Legarda
NCCA 8th Ani ng Dangal Awards
29 February 2016 | SM Aura, Samsung Hall


Tonight we are gathered to celebrate the profound creativity of the Filipino people.


From the music we select to accompany us in the daily grind of commuting, or the urban street art that speaks to us as we traverse the congested streets of the metro — the Filipino spirit of creativity is present.


It is in the mainstream television shows that we watch together as a family or independent films that introduce us to the new realities. It is an artwork, a photo, a compilation of words, or beautiful music that moves us — these allow us to ponder a world bigger than we can ever hope to understand.


Tonight we honor and celebrate 83 creative individuals for bringing us international recognition and for allowing us to tell the world who we are.  I congratulate everyone for their achievements as well as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts for again recognizing exemplary men and women through the 8th Ani ng Dangal. The collective creativity of the people here has made the art and culture scene of the Philippines alive.


Too often, art is mistaken as a luxury instead of a necessity. But try to imagine a society that lacks the humanizing influence of music, movies, theater, visual arts, literature and you get a life that is bereft of pleasure or contemplation. We would have no reason to argue or celebrate, or dream. Arts and culture shed light on our inner selves and allow us to connect as a society.


In the economic realm, thousands of Filipinos have been working all over the world in creative industries as writers, artists, editors, photographers, musicians, filmmakers and they bring not only pride but revenues for the country. Investing in arts and culture is an economic necessity.


As the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, I made sure that our cultural agencies will not be left behind in terms of government support. Under the 2016 General Appropriations Act, the government has invested more in arts and culture, including the three major programs of NCCA: (1) Preservation and promotion of tangible and intangible Filipino Heritage through research, documentation, publication, promotion, exhibition and film production; (2) Scholarships and grants for artists and cultural workers and funding for schools of living traditions (SLTs); and (3) cultural and heritage mapping projects.


Moreover, in a bid to further cultivate Filipino arts and culture, we put in a special provision in the 2016 national budget that encourages the establishment of councils for the promotion of culture and the arts in all cities and municipalities nationwide. This provides support to cultural organizations and local artists in the form of grants-in-aid, technical assistance, networking opportunities and capacity-building initiatives.


Under the special provision, the Department of Interior and Local Government shall ensure the establishment of a council whose purpose is the promotion of culture and the arts in all provinces, cities and municipalities, pursuant to the Local Government Code. The LGUs and NCCA will coordinate to undertake cultural mapping of our tangible and intangible heritage, which shall form part of the national registry to be maintained by the NCCA.


In the future, I would like to see the mainstreaming of arts and culture in our education system, like in Bhutan where they have a National Institute of Handicrafts where young people go through four to six years of college courses on weaving, woodcarving, painting, and the handicrafts. I hope we can have our own Institute of Arts and Culture.


Our efforts are not just focused on promoting traditional arts, and in fact we are conquering contemporary art through our participation in the Venice Biennale for both Art and Architecture. Through the collaboration of NCCA, the Department of Foreign Affairs and my office, we will be participating for the first time ever in the International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale. This historical event comes after our successful return to the Venice Art Biennale in 2015 with the exhibit Tie A String Around the Worldcurated by Dr. Patrick Flores garnering international acclaim.


The government also fully supported our collaboration with Mr. Brillante Mendoza to produce Taklub, a film that captures the critical message of disaster and climate resilience. It earned a special commendation from the Ecumenical Jury at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival.


We are in the midst of an exciting period in Philippine art and culture. We only have to look around this venue for proof. As a legislator, and an individual who is in awe of arts, culture, and talent, it is my honor to be here today. Thank you for a job well done. Thank you for giving us more reasons to be proud of being Filipino. Congratulations and Mabuhay!