MANILA - At least 10 senators are pushing for a bill that would create a separate Department of Culture "in recognition of the vital role of Filipino culture in nation-building."
Senate Bill No. 1528 or the Department of Culture Act seeks to "reorganize the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) into an independent Department of Culture which will promote and develop the country's cultural traditions."
The proposed department shall be responsible for the "protection, preservation, regulation, development, management, dissemination and promotion of the cultural, historical and artistic heritage and resources, tangible and intangible, of the Philippines and the Filipino people," Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture chair Senator Francis Escudero said in a statement.
"The passage of this bill will further nurture and preserve our Filipino heritage by enhancing the agency's mandate and giving it more authority in implementing the programs that will promote the importance of the Philippine arts and culture," Escudero said.
Senators who expressed support for the bill were Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri and Senators Loren Legarda, Nancy Binay, Bam Aquino, JV Ejercito, Joel Villanueva, Sherwin Gatchalian, Risa Hontiveros, and Sonny Angara.
Under the bill, the following cultural agencies will be placed under the new department:
- Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP)
- National Museum of the Philippines (NMP)
- National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP)
- National Library of the Philippines (NLP)
- National Archives of the Philippines (NAP)
- Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF)
- Intramuros Administration (IA)
- National Parks Development Committee (NPDC)
- Nayong Filipino Foundation (NPF)
- Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP)
- National Book Development Board (NBDB)
- Design Center of the Philippines
Should the bill become a law this year, initial funding for the Department of Culture will come from the NCCA's budget, Escudero said.
"Subsequent budgetary appropriations - which will not be less than P2 billion - will be included in the national budget for the upcoming years," he said.