10 senators back creation of Department of Culture

(Eagle News) — Ten senators are pushing for the creation of a Department of Culture for the “protection and preservation” of Filipino culture.

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino IV, JV Ejercito, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, and Sonny Angara are backing the passage of Senate Bill No. 1528 that aims to reorganize the National Commission for Culture and the Arts into the agency that “will promote and develop the country’s cultural traditions.”

Under the bill, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Museum of the Philippines, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Library of the Philippines, National Archives of the Philippines, Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, Intramuros Administration, National Parks Development Committee, Nayong Filipino Foundation, Film Development Council of the Philippines, National Book Development Board and Design Center of the Philippines will be attached to the department.

The department, he said, will be headed by a secretary, who will be assisted by three undersecretaries and five assistant secretaries.

According to Escudero, the bill also calls for  the establishment of ‘Rizal Centers,” cultural hubs that will provide Filipinos access to cultural resources within the country and abroad “for the benefit of the global diaspora of Philippine citizens.”

If passed, the department will get its funding from the current fiscal year’s appropriation for the NCCA through the Office of the President.

Subsequently though, he said the department’s budget, which will not be less than P2 billion, will be included in the national budget.