Press Release
February 26, 2024


Mr. President, honorable colleagues,

I rise today with a deep sense of pride as we approach to concur in the ratification of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

The Convention, adopted by the Parties on October 20, 2005, in Paris, France, defines "cultural expressions" as those that result from the creativity of individuals, groups, and societies. These expressions embody cultural content, symbolic meaning, artistic dimension, and values inherent in cultural identities.

The Convention espouses the principle that cultural diversity can be protected and promoted only if human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedom of expression and the ability of individuals to choose cultural expressions, are guaranteed. The protection and promotion of diversity of cultural expressions hinge upon the value of equal dignity and respect for all cultures.

Our commitment to the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions represents not only a reaffirmation of our nation's value for cultural diversity but also the culmination of a long journey that began with a call for action over 17 years ago when the Convention entered into force on March 18, 2007.

According to the records of the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Philippines first considered ratification of the Convention as early as 2008. However, the matter was only discussed in detail during a DFA-hosted inter-agency meeting in 2014.

Because of the change in administration in 2016, the process had to start anew to reflect the signatures of the officials of the then-incoming administration.

The administration has changed, eight (8) years have passed, yet Certificates of Concurrence from seventeen (17) concerned government agencies remained incomplete.

In response to this delay, on January 25, 2023, I filed Senate Resolution No. 444, urging the concerned government agencies to expedite the submission of their respective certificates of concurrence in view of the country's ratification of the UNESCO 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions.

This call was heeded. The certificates of concurrence were completed, and on August 14, 2023, President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. ratified the Convention and was finally transmitted to the Senate for concurrence on August 17, 2023.

Mr. President,

We may have missed potential opportunities outlined under the Convention over the two (2) decades since the Convention was adopted, the importance of coming together to uphold cultural expressions and preserve cultural heritage is timeless.

With our decisive concurrence in the ratification of the Convention, we will be able to access the key clauses of the Convention. These include collaborative arrangements and preferential support for developing countries, which will significantly enhance the access for creative and cultural sectors in the Philippines to both domestic and foreign markets. Creative professionals will become eligible to tap into the International Fund for Cultural Diversity, established under the Convention, to fund projects and initiatives of emerging dynamic cultural sectors in developing countries worth up to $100,000.

The Convention aligns with existing cultural laws such as the Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 that I authored and co-sponsored, which encompasses the protection, conservation, and promotion of intangible cultural heritage; the Republic Act No. 11961 or the Cultural Mapping Law that I authored and principally sponsored, which mandates local government units to conduct a comprehensive cultural mapping for both tangible and intangible, and natural and built heritage. Additionally, the Convention would supplement the Republic Act No. 11904 or the Philippine Creative Industries Development Act that I authored to create a nurturing environment for our creative culture to flourish.

Mr. President,

Our support of the treaty exemplifies the core values of the Convention, showcasing the power of unity in diversity and our collective resolve to protect and promote the diverse cultural expressions that define us as a nation and as a global community. This will send a message to the international community that the Philippines holds its traditional and contemporary culture in high regard.

I, therefore, urge all of my esteemed colleagues to join me in supporting this vital measure, ensuring that future generations inherit a world where the richness of cultural expression thrives unhindered by biases or barriers.

Thank you, Mr. President.

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