Press Release
May 22, 2012

Legarda Highlights Efforts on Cultural Preservation
as Nation Celebrates Heritage Month

Senator Loren Legarda today enjoined all citizens to reconnect with their roots and reflect on the legacies of Filipino cultural history as the nation celebrates Heritage Month.

In her privilege speech, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that the challenge today is to create harmonious connections between tradition and modernity.

"We need to preserve and sustain traditional arts, crafts and local industries deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture. We have to support our culture bearers so they do not give up their crafts and instead encourage them to pass on their skills to the next generation," she stressed.

The Senator cited efforts from government agencies and various stakeholders to safeguard the country's cultural treasures--the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is undertaking capacity-building activities on various facets of preserving the Philippine heritage including festival management, establishing art galleries or artists' villages, and proper conservation practices for built heritage.

The Philippine Textile Research Institute (PTRI) is working closely with other agencies to strengthen the tropical fabrics industry, using Republic Act 9242 or the Philippine Tropical Fabrics Law as leverage to promote the use of indigenous fibers such as piña, abaca, banana and Philippine silk.

The state universities in the Cordilleras will undertake the documentation of indigenous knowledge and practices, particularly in the area of agriculture and environment protection--an effort supported by the Senator.

"Our indigenous peoples are the epitome of the tradition, the skill and the creativity of the great Filipino mind, and recording this ingenuity will allow traditions to stay alive and flourish," Legarda said.

The Senator also has a number of projects that aim to promote and preserve Filipino heritage and indigenous culture. She supported the development of cultural villages of the Ata-Talaingod, the Mandayas, the B'laan, and the Bagobo Tagabawas and various activities of their Schools of Living Traditions, which teach the young generation the traditional arts, crafts, music and practices of the village.

Meanwhile, in collaboration with the National Museum, Legarda initiated projects such as the Hibla ng Lahing Filipino exhibition, the first permanent textile galleries in the country, which were recently inaugurated; the Baybayin gallery, which will showcase the ancient and traditional scripts of the Philippines and is expected to be launched within the year; and the Lecture Series on Philippine Traditional Textiles and Indigenous Knowledge, which aims to enrich the citizens' knowledge on tropical fabrics and the culture of weaving, and explore the local technology, adaptation and innovations to perform and renew weaving customs.

Moreover, the Senator recently filed Senate Resolution 771, honoring the late Felipe Padilla de Leon, who championed the cause of nationalism by expressing the meaningful events in Philippine history through music.

"The culture passed on to us by our ancestors should never be buried in oblivion. There is no other way for us but to preserve these treasures as they reveal the meaning of who we really are and help us move forward as one people," Legarda concluded.

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