Press Release
February 8, 2023

Pia: culture is a driver and enabler of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Co-sponsorship speech of Senator Pia S. Cayetano on SBN 1841 under CRN 21: Strengthening the Conservation and Protection of Philippine Cultural Heritage

Thank you, Mr President.

Mr President, just a short sponsorship speech to support this measure. The 1987 Constitution provides that all the country's artistic and historic wealth constitute the cultural treasures of the nation and shall be protected by the State, which may regulate its disposition. (Art. XIV, Sec. 16)

Article XIV, Section 15 further states, "The State shall conserve, promote and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources as well as artistic creations."

Culture is an integral component of the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda as it can be a driver and an enabler of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

According to UNESCO, the safeguarding and promotion of culture contribute directly to many of the SDGs, namely:

SDG 5: Gender Equality
SDG 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth
SDG 10: Reduced Inequality
SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities.

Making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable are part of the SDGs. In fact, Target 11.4 calls for strengthening efforts to protect and safeguard the world's cultural and natural heritage.

UNESCO has emphasized that "culture should be regarded as the set of distinctive spiritual, material, intellectual and emotional features of society or a social group, and that it encompasses, in addition to art and literature, lifestyles, ways of living together, value systems, traditions and beliefs."

Your honor, it is high time that we pass this measure. It will be recalled that our law, the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 already requires the protection of the visual sightlines, core, and buffer zones of a cultural property. It states that... there shall be consultation with cultural communities or indigenous peoples before properties that belong to them are included in the registry. And to that extent, Mr President, the new law will further strengthen the constitutional provisions and the United Nations Sustainable Development Agenda, of which we are supportive.

I'd like to point out, your honors, that for the last few years, when we chaired the Committee on Education and Cultural Agencies, we coordinated with NCCA and worked with various local governments to have training sessions to empower the local governments to start the process of cultural mapping. We actually did a 5-day training program in Taguig in 2018, which we did with the members of the community. This was actually very successful.

So we hope that we will be able to replicate this in many parts of the country as this is actually mandated by existing law. And the current bill that we are tackling simply strengthens this measure that is already available to us. But we are always supportive when we are giving more teeth to the laws that we want to the laws that we want to see manifest and come full circle, your honor.

So on this note, this is our obligation to the future generation. We share a common future with them, we need to ensure that we preserve our identity as a country and as a people. We must prepare everyone for whatever future is before us. And this includes preserving our culture and traditions and being able to register them so that we do have a record of all of this.

Thank you, Mr President.

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