(From left to right) Renee Talavera, NCCA Section Head Cultural Community and Training Arts Section, Rico Pableo, NCCA Executive Director, and John Bengan, NCLA Executive Council Member (Evan Michael Clerigo/davaotoday.com)

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Highlighting the role of Philippine arts and culture in the country’s development, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has put up a promotional program to fit the framework of the Philippine Development Plan: AmBisyon Natin.

John Bengan, executive council member of the NCCA’s National Committee on Literary Arts said they currently have six programs conforming to the agenda of the administration.

Among these programs are (1) Regional and National Writing Workshops, which trains young writers to write in regional languages; (2) Module Design for Literature Teachers of Senior and Junior High School, which supports the projects of different writers groups in developing modules for literature teachers in K to 12; (3) Research and Production grant, which supports anyone who has a good project that will yield research; (4) ManunULAT, which gives priority to unrecognized writers and storytellers; and (4) Project Pangga, a literary conference, seminar, exhibit, performance about malasakit.

NCCA section head Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts Section Renee Talavera said that NCCA geared their programs towards the concept of “malasakit” (compassion).

He said this was part of the Philippine Development 2017–2022, which said the concept of malasakit “is among the pillars of enhancing the social fabric to create the foundation for a high-trust society.”

In line with this, Talavera said they are pushing for an ‘NCCA that is mapagbago, malikhain, at marangal’.

“Lahat po ng ating mga gagawin [na programa] ay may malasakit sa kapwa Pilipino (All our programs are compassionate towards our fellow Filipinos),” she said.

Despite the growing influence of modern technology, NCCA Executive Director Rico Pableo said that it has always been the challenge for the commission “to let Filipino millennials appreciate, love, and understand the Filipino culture.”

“Malasakit means your work of art should be something that will really reflect, talk, and something that would be appreciated by the people. It should not be just doing something you feel, but art should make people understand the beauty of Philippine culture,” he said.

He emphasized that culture should be part in any of their programs and in the development of society.

“Culture and the arts is not just a thing to be understood but a thing to love and appreciate, and to make part in your day to day life,” he said.

Apart from contributing to the Philippine development, NCCA aims to increase the level of cultural awareness of the Filipinos, and reinforce a culturally sensitive government and development.

The NCCA has invited all civil society organizations, people’s organizations, indigenous people’s organizations, local government units, state colleges and universities and public schools to submit proposals for the 2018 Competitive Grants Programs that will enhance social fabric through compassion. (davaotoday.com)

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