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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Lawmakers deliberate on proposed creation of Department of Culture
14 August 2018 09:09:39 PM

The House Committees on Government Reorganization and Basic Education and Culture on Tuesday continued their deliberations on the proposed creation of a Department of Culture.

The hearing capped with a motion by Committee on Basic Education and Culture Chairman Ramon Durano, VI (5th District, Cebu) to request the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to submit a comparative computation on the costs of creating a new department as against the creation of a bureau.

Durano said this will enable the members of the two committees to decide on what proposal to adopt. The comparative costs will be discussed in the next hearing.

House Bill 2628 authored by Rep. Jose Atienza (Party-list, Buhay) seeks to promote cultural and sports training of the Filipino youth by reorganizing the Department of Education (Deped) into the Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS).

Atienza said that even as he supports the wishes of the people to harness, cultivate and develop Filipino culture, he believes that the creation of a Department of Culture will be disadvantageous to the government because as per computation by the DBM, an initial amount of P1 billion will be needed to create a new department.

He cited the unsuccessful creation of the Department of Housing as it failed to serve its purpose as shown by the unsolved housing problem in the country.

“In order for the government to save billions of funds, why not integrate culture and sports into the Department of Education?,” said Atienza.

Rep. Mark Go (Lone District, Baguio City) expressed support for Atienza’s bill during the hearing.

On the other hand a substitute bill has been crafted for HBs 4884, 6113 and 6260, seeking to establish a Department of Culture. The bills are authored by Reps. Jose Antonio Sy-Alvarado (1ST District, Bulacan), Evelina Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon), and Christopher V.P. De Venecia (4th District, Pangasinan), respectively.

The substitute bill seeks to make the Department of Culture a distinct and independent agency from DepEd. The authors believe the issues on culture and arts can be addressed by the DepEd. The DECS was reorganized in 2001 wherein the aspects of culture and sports were removed from the department’s jurisdiction, thus becoming solely as the Department of Education.

De Venecia said the cultural factor in the country’s socio-economic planning has been neglected and ignored which resulted in its place in the lowest level of the national bureaucracy.

“Even as cultural creative industries contribute a good percentage to our country’s economy and GDP, disunity among political, economic, social and ethnic divisions are preventing the country from achieving its potential as a modern and progressive nation. Therefore, the creation of the Department of Culture is highly sought,” said de Venecia./ Jojo Menorca