Legarda welcomes Iloilo City recognition by UNESCO

November 1, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda lauded the inclusion of Iloilo City in the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN) for its one-of-a-kind gastronomic experience.

Legarda, a veteran lawmaker known for her cultural advocacies, and a proud daughter of the island of Panay, welcomed the addition of the Visayan metropolis to the prestigious list.

“We express our deepest gratitude to UNESCO for including Iloilo as one of the 55 new cities included in the UCCN in commemoration of World Cities Day. It brings the Philippines great pride and honor,” said Legarda, the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Culture and the Arts.

“Felicitations are in order for our Ilonggo kababayans as their unique culinary identity was recognized by a widely respected body such as UNESCO, and we hope to push tourism there even further,” she added.

Iloilo and other cities such as Casablanca, Morocco, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Toulouse, France were named to the list, which now has totaled over 350.

The list, created in 2004, seeks to foster international cooperation across cities of the world that invest in culture and creativity as accelerators of sustainable development, per UNESCO.

It represents seven creative fields — namely crafts and folk art, design, film, gastronomy, literature, media arts, and music — with all of them being recognized for their strong commitment to harnessing culture and creativity as part of their development strategies and displaying innovative practices in human-centered urban planning.

In 2017, Baguio City was included in the crafts and folk art category, while in 2019, Cebu City was designated a creative city of design.

“With the entry of Iloilo into the fold, we sincerely hope their cooperation with other UCCN member cities to strengthen resilience in the face of evolving threats such as climate change, rising inequality, and rapid urbanization,” underscored Legarda.

“I am confident our Ilonggo countrymen are committed to keeping the city’s spirit alive through their appreciation of history, culture, heritage, and commitment to serving the best dishes,” she continued.

Legarda, a four-term senator, has continued pushing for the creation of a Department of Culture, which would institutionalize programs and activities that promote cultural heritage and national identity. As a staunch advocate of promoting the culture and the arts, she has also filed several proposed measures for conserving Philippine traditions and heritage.

Among these are Senate Bill 244, or the Philippine Culinary Heritage Act of 2022, SBN 624 or An Act Establishing the ‘Linangan ng Likhang-Bayan (Institute for Living Traditions), and SBN 622, a measure that she sponsored amending the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 to strengthen heritage conservation in the country and mandate the local government units to conduct a comprehensive cultural mapping of their areas of jurisdiction.

The seasoned lawmaker also filed Senate Bill 242 to integrate Philippine arts and culture into the basic curriculum.

Filipino indigenous culture and heritage through the multi-award winning documentary “Dayaw” aired over the ABS-CBN News Channel has also opened eyes to the Filipino public of the various cultures and traditions of the country. (end)