The NEDA Regional Office VI, Regional Development Council VI and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts held a Webinar on “Developing Culture, Heritage and Arts Assets to revitalize the Industry and Services sector” on August 6th via Zoom platform.

Eighty participants from regional line agencies (RLAs), local government units (LGUs), private sector representatives (PSRs), and other cultural and arts organizations in the region joined the online orientation.

As chairperson of the Regional Culture, Heritage and Arts Committee, Governor Esteban Ivan Contreras of Capiz warmly welcomed the participants.  In his message, he highlighted the importance of culture, heritage and arts as one of the economic drivers that would enable the region to respond to the challenges of the New Normal.

Mr. Chris Millado, the Vice President and Artistic Director of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) and Ms. Jeannie E. Javelosa, the Co-Founder of Environment and Community Hope Organization (ECHO) Store and GREAT Women served as resource persons for the second of the series of webinars on culture, arts and heritage that the NEDA-VI is coordinating.

Mr. Millado discussed “CCP in the Time of COVID: Arts and Culture Strategies during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) and the Post-COVID Recovery Period”.   Mr. Millado shared the devastating impact of the pandemic in the arts and culture sector, particularly in the performing arts, where an estimated 3,000 artists, cultural workers, production staff have lost their source of income, when at least 800 events slated for the year were cancelled.  This spelled a loss of about 800,000 audiences and revenues from ticket sales worth at least Php 90 million.

Despite the challenges caused by the pandemic, Mr. Millado assured that the CCP did not waver in ensuring that the Filipinos will continue to benefit from the educational, inspirational and healing properties of arts and culture. It has explored alternative modes of engagement while protecting the livelihoods of stakeholders in the arts and culture sector.  CCP continued to collaborate with artists and theater companies and invested in enhancing the capabilities of artists and cultural workers to further innovate. To keep pace with the New Normal, CCP has embarked on these areas: Arts and Culture Online, Live Arts on Lockdown, Arts for Therapy and the Capacity Building.

In her presentation “Find the USP! Niche, Focus and Tell That Story (Post-COVID Strategies for the online market), Ms. Javelosa advocated that to be able to find niche in the post-COVID online market for the region’s products, Western Visayas must be able to explore and promote the uniqueness of its products such as its food and textile crafts.

Sharing her experience as the co-founder of ECHOstore, the sustainably sourced natural product outlet, she said that the region could find its niche in the slow food movement, which is gaining ground in the country. She noted that the Philippines, with its wealth of indigenous products, is playing a major role in this exciting revolution in the food world. Ms. Javelosa also emphasized the importance of collaboration and networking, especially among community producers or creators, government and investor, particularly in the pooling of resources among the collaborators.

After the open forum, the secretariat shared NCCA’s video on Sagisag ng Kultura, and announced the various national and regional culture and arts celebrations and events such as the Buwan ng Wika, Buwan ng Kasaysayan, Cinemalaya Film Festival indie nation online screening and other local events.

In her concluding message, NEDA-VI Regional Director Ro-Ann A. Bacal expressed her appreciation to the resource persons for sharing their time and expertise and the active participation of the attendees in the discussion. She expressed confidence that the creation of the Regional Culture, Heritage and the Arts Committee, as a special committee of RDC-VI, will pave the way for continuing discussion and collaboration among culture and arts stakeholders, government and the academe that would result to the formulation of enabling policies to promote and further the cause of culture, heritage and art sector in the region. # PFPD, NEDA6