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Things we would like to see in 2017

January 11, 2017

The extended holidays are over. Even the annual Feast of the Black Nazarene, that crush of humanity unparalleled for its socio-cultural fervor in this part of the world, mercifully transpired without much untoward incident.

Now the nation rolls its sleeves and buckles down to work. One of the biggest surprises of 2016, the Trump victory in November, will usher in a new administration in the US of A one week before the Lunar New Year begins. And the whole world anxiously anticipates.

In our country, 2016 ended with Senator Loren Legarda promising to legislate a separate department for culture and the arts. The issue may sound trivial to many, but this writer agrees with the good senadora. We should be serious about our history, culture and the arts, and government should put together the disparate agencies in charge of our cultural heritage under central management. We have the National Museum, the National Library, the National Historical Institute, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, the Cultural Center, several film development agencies, and God knows whatever else.

Yet we are a people with little sense of history. Worse, many have a distorted knowledge of our history. We have little appreciation for our own culture, ape Hollywood and everything foreign, and confine our art to the latest telenovela. Many regard culture as something for the “rich and highly educated.” Nothing could be more false.

Proper knowledge and deep appreciation of our history and culture are vital to a sense of nationalism which should be engendered among us even at an early age. The Department of Education should be at the forefront of this, and current head Professor Liling Briones is one imbued with a deep sense of history and is a nationalist with few equals, but the department is too big and too saddled with day-to-day operational and administrative responsibilities due to the huge population it must put to school each day. A Department of History, Arts and Culture can be the principal pivot in this very much needed national endeavor.

Source: The Standard