Legarda welcomes 9 new ‘Manlilikha ng Bayan’ awardees

December 27, 2023


Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda lauded the proclamation into new cultural masters of nine individuals who received the National Living Treasures Award (Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan or GAMABA) for their exemplary contribution to Philippine arts and culture.

Legarda, considered the foremost legislator on the topic, welcomed the inclusion of the nine via Presidential Proclamation No. 427, s. 2023.

Republic Act (RA) No. 7355 establishes provisions for identifying and honoring GAMABA awardees and for the advancement and nurturing of traditional folk art, including the allocation of financial resources for these endeavors.

“We are delighted to learn about the induction of these nine talented Filipino artists as the State recognized them for their unwavering contribution to the country’s rich and diverse art and culture,” Legarda said.

“It is a constant reminder of their significance to our country’s intangible cultural heritage, for their works are worthy for every Filipino to admire and emulate,” she added.

The nine individuals include Adelita Romualdo Bagcal (Ilocano Oral Traditions,) Abina Tawide Coguit (Agusan Manobo Embroidery,) and Haja Sakinur-ain Mugong Delasas (Sama Dance.)

Also included are Bundos Bansil Fara (T’boli Brasscasting, Marife Ravidas Ganahon (Higaonon Mat Weaving,) and Amparo Balansi Mabanag (Ga’dang Beadworks and Embroidery.)

Rounding out the illustrious list are Samporonia Pagsac Madanlo (Mandaya Textile Weaving,) Barbara Kibed Ofong (T’boli Textile Weaving,) and Rosie Godwino Sula (T’boli Chanting.)

“We are hopeful for more Manlilikha ng Bayan awardees in the coming years so that they may be recognized for their work and teach the upcoming generations so there would be a knowledge transfer,” remarked Legarda.

Among the many laws passed by the four-term senator include the RA No. 10908, or the Integrated History Act of 2016, and RA 11961, or the Cultural Mapping Law, which she principally sponsored and authored. This law mandates local government units to conduct comprehensive cultural mapping of their areas, ensuring the identification and documentation of diverse cultural heritage resources for appreciation, conservation, and development.

Pending bills in the Senate include the proposed Cultural Education Program Act and a measure seeking to establish a Department of Culture, which will reorganize the National Commission on the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) into the Department of Culture.

It will safeguard its place in the priorities of the government, ensuring that the finest elements of Filipino culture will be passed on for generations to come.

Other proposed laws include Senate Bill No. 831, or the Indigenous Community Conserved Territories and Areas Act; SBN 838, or the “Resource Centers for Indigenous Peoples Act;” SBN 839, or the “Traditional Property Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act;” and SBN 1249, or the “Katutubong Tagapagtanggol Act of 2022.”

Legarda is also back hosting the critically acclaimed cultural program “Dayaw,” a television documentary series on Philippine indigenous peoples and culture that the senator conceptualized.

The program showcases Filipinos’ indigenous culture and customs – from diverse languages, traditional sports and games, clothing, and accessories to dances, rituals, and culinary heritage.

The program started in 2015 and is a co-production of ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) and NCCA. It is now in its 13th Season. (30)