Wednesday, August 24, 2011


Press Release
August 23, 2011


Senator Edgardo J. Angara told the country's cultural agencies to come up with a strategic midterm plan that will guide their budget allocations until 2016.

"You are distributing money as if they are just pan de sal," said Angara, referring to the presentation of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) at the budget hearing today. "You show us that you have projects here and there, but we don't really understand--what is your plan?"

Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, suggested that agencies outline their objectives and long-term plans and present these to the Senate. According to Angara, this will make it easier for Congress to look into their budgets and understand the direction the agency wants to take.

Furthermore, he told cultural agencies to choose projects that are strategic and directed towards cultural awareness and education, instead of spreading their resources thin on various festivities which other institutions could support.

"We have a meager budget for cultural agencies as it is. So, instead of supporting small projects, I suggest you focus on five strategic ones--those related to history and protecting cultural heritage are important--and make sure they are successful. Leave 'festivals' and 'fiestas' to other people," stressed Angara, also the Vice-Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance.

He cited Sentro Rizal, an institution patterned after the likes of Spain's Instituto Cervantes and Germany's Goethe Institut, and created through the National Cultural Heritage Act, which he authored together with Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara. Branches of Sentro Rizal will showcase the country's arts, culture and language to the world, and are being set up in countries with Filipino expatriate communities.
During the hearing, Angara also recommended the addition of P5 million to the P88.77 million 2012 budget of the National Archives to allow the agency to protect rare books in their collection, now housed in a fire-prone location.

He also agreed to study an increase of about P6 Million to the P43.1 million budget of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB). Chairman Mary Grace Poe-Llamanzares said they need to increase administrative expenses but they are not allowed to keep revenues. She claimed that they return about P60 million to the National Treasury every year.

The budget hearing for the remaining cultural agencies, including the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino, Philippine Sports Commission and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples, will resume on Thursday.

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