Press Release
September 11, 2023

Pia: preserving PH national treasures crucial to tourism promotion, achieving SDGs
Transcript of the opening statement of Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Senate hearing on the proposed 2024 budget of national cultural agencies

Let me acknowledge the presence of my colleague, Sen. Nancy Binay. And on the agenda today are the proposed budgets under the fiscal year 2024 NEP of the following:

  • National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), with a total new appropriation of P37,570,000

  • National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), with a total new appropriation of P250,779,000

  • National Library of the Philippines, P177,153,000

  • National Archives of the Philippines, P666,034,000

  • Commission on the Filipino Language, P73,314,000; and

  • Cultural Center of the Philippines, P357,151,000

I just want to put on record how important the hearings of your budgets are. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Sustainable Development Goals, Innovation, and Futures Thinking, and I'll speak for my colleague, but of course I'll give her the floor, she's the Chairman of Tourism, this is really, I mean, to put peso values to it, this is an income generating industry. But there is no income to generate if we cannot support you with a good budget because a lot of your assets have to do with preservation of existing treasures. So at least those of us here in the hearing today understand that. And you can rest assured that we will be very open to your requests, kung hanggang saan naman kakayanin. You can have our assurance.

So just to tie it into the various Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs): SDG 5 on Gender Equality; SDG 8 on Decent Work and Economic Growth; SDG 10 on Reduced Inequalities; SDG 11 on Sustainable Cities and Communities. I think it's so interesting kasi Filipinos are learning to travel and appreciate their own, their own culture. And sometimes mas mura, minsan hindi rin, kasi yun nga, our Chairman of Tourism, minsan mas mahal pa mag-travel within the country, di ba? But if we can promote local tourism by sea, by land, yun siguro mas mura nang konti sa airfare. But that's why I am happy that our colleague is here, because it directly contributes to the tourism revenues.

So the order of presentation, we will hear from NCCA, and then NHCP, and then National Library, National Archives, Commission on the Filipino Language, Cultural Center of the Philippines.

Our Secretariat will be reminding you of your time limits. Don't worry. Even though maiksi lang yung time, you have a lot of opportunity to meet with our staff and to submit and to highlight. So I just want to give everybody the chance to present. And then after that, we can have more exchanges. And yun nga like I said, we can still meet after the hearing.

So let's proceed. My rule is, but there's no other senator here, so I'm just speaking to the staff of the other senators. Kapag kaming dalawa lang ni Sen. Nancy, mabilis na ito. We can just ask quick questions. Pero kapag dumami na ang senators, the questions should be after all na sana. Pero hanggat dalawa lang kami, feel free. Kasi dalawa lang. Pero kapag marami na, kailangan after na lang kasi maiipit ang iba. So sige. I hope that's clear. On that note, I look forward to a meaningful discussion. And let us proceed with the presentation of NCCA.

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