The University of Santo Tomas Graduate School – Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCCPET), in collaboration with National Commission for Culture and the Arts – Philippine Cultural Education Program (NCCA-PCEP) and the City Government of Ormoc held the National Training on Culture-based Governance for LGU in Ormoc City, Leyte from August 27-29, 2019.
The training was attended by 177 representatives from different provinces, city and municipalities in the country. These representatives include mayors, board members, councilors, cultural officers, and tourism officers. The main objective of the training is to orient the government workers on arts and culture, cultural education, culture-based governance that will curate and enrich all the cultural knowledge and networks, with the end-view of transforming them into cultural, social, and economic capitals that will later on propel innovation and advancement. The end result is the development of a knowledge-driven economy as the country’s future driver of growth.
In the training, speakers from the academe, Catholic Church, and government’s cultural agencies and local governments shared their experience in adopting such an approach. Zerrudo, representing the academe, began by setting the context and starting the call to value heritage, with the question: “Heritage, makakain ba ‘yan?” (Heritage, can it be eaten? [i.e., be a source of livelihood). Zerrudo, both an economist and cultural heritage specialist by academic preparation, went on to discuss how sustainable development and inclusive growth can be achieved through cultural practices. Jumping off from Zerrudo’s context-setting talks were the success stories of local governments that took care of their heritage and are now reaping the benefits of such heritage through economic growth. Capiz Provincial Tourism Officer Alphonsus Tesoro and Anilao, Iloilo Mayor Nathalie Debuque both shared their own localities’ experiences in the form of case studies. Meanwhile, former Vigan City Mayor Eva Medina, with the aim of capacitating the attendees on adopting this approach, presented the framework and planning for culture-based governance.
Also speaking during the event was National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) Region 8 Assistant Regional Director Ma. Victoria C. Cuayzon (Promoting Philippine Culture and Values). Speaking on behalf of the Catholic Church was Fr. Milan Ted D. Torralba, who talked about the agreement between the NCCA and the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines.
Government agencies were also given the chance to share their programs and how these can be of help to local governments. Representing these agencies were: National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) representative Mark Reinere D. Policarpio; National Library of the Philippines Assistant Director Edgardo B. Quiros; Cultural Center of the Philippines Outreach Programs Representative Carmencita Bernardo; and Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) Direktor-Heneral Atty. Anna Katarina B. Rodriguez.
The training was designed by Zerrudo and NCCA-PCEP Director Mr. Joseph Sonny Cristobal.