Legarda: We Must Embrace Our Cultural Diversity

May 20, 2018

In observance of World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development (May 21), Senator Loren Legarda said Filipinos should embrace our rich culture, which may be diverse but can be an instrument to unite.

“Our culture is our identity, and part of that identity is a complex and heterogeneous mix of cultures. Our different ethno-linguistic groups—each with a distinct heritage of traditions, dance, art, music, folklore, beliefs, value systems—make up the identity of the Filipino people,” said Legarda.

“We can never work together wholeheartedly towards the inclusive growth and development of our nation if we do not have national pride as a people, if we do not appreciate the richness of our diverse culture,” she added.

Legarda said that cultural considerations cannot anymore remain on the sidelines of policy making. These need to be integrated in education, economic planning, urban and rural development, technological innovations, among others.

“We need to increase the level of cultural awareness, inculcate values for the common good, cultivate creativity, and strengthen culture-sensitive governance and development,” she stressed.

Legarda explained that this is the reason she is pushing for the creation of a Department of Culture that will ensure the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of a Filipino national culture that is rooted in unity amidst diversity.

A Department of Culture would give the arts and culture sector more focus and attention and a stronger fiscal position to recommend and implement government’s policies and programs for the promotion of culture and the arts.

Legarda said the proposed measure addresses the need for a clear policy framework and a lead agency that will preserve and sustain traditional arts, crafts and local industries deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture. It will develop, manage and be responsible for the implementation of policy, legislation and strategic direction for the protection, safeguarding, regulation, preservation, development, management, dissemination and promotion of Philippine culture and the arts.

“Diversity breeds richness in our culture and heritage. Diversity brings everyone together for as long as there is understanding and respect—for as long as no one thinks he or she is superior and more deserving than the rest. Achieving sustainable and inclusive growth is only possible if we have a shared understanding of who we are as a people,” Legarda concluded.