The Regional Culture, Heritage and the Arts Committee (RCHAC) of the Regional Development Council VI (RDC-VI) conducted its first Regular Meeting for the year last February 4 via Zoom.

On behalf of RCHAC Chairperson, Governor Esteban Evan B. Contreras of the Province of Capiz, Alphonsus D. Tesoro, the designated permanent representative for the RCHAC and the Capiz Provincial Tourism and Culture Officer presided over the meeting.  RDC-VI Co-Chairperson Ma. Luisa C. Segovia, who also represented the Iloilo Dinagyang Foundation, Inc. (IDFI) during the meeting, congratulated the Committee for its series of capacity building activities including online webinars in the past year, which raised knowledge on culture among members of the RCHAC, RDC-VI, and the academe in the region.

Arli Joshua Atienza, Culture and Arts Officer of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) presented the Survey Results for Western Visayas in the Cultural Recovery and Resiliency Plan (CRRP). With a total of 236 respondents composed of 148 culture and arts practitioner and 88 non-practitioners, the survey showed the negative effects of the pandemic in the culture and arts sectors.  The top five are the cancellation of festivals and events (13.6%), closure of culture and arts venues (11.9 %), postponement of activities (11.5%), cancellation of heritage activities (11.1%), and loss of clients or participants related to arts (9.8%).

However, the survey also showed some positive effects of COVID-19 on Culture and the Arts, the top five of which are opportunity to acquire new set of skills related to culture (17.3%), opened avenues to explore digital platform for culture and arts work (15.4%), gave more time for people to create, focus, master an art practice (13.2%), made people realize the value of culture and arts (12.8%), and gave more time to conceptualize and plan for culture and arts activities (11.8%).

Other topics discussed during the meeting were the Challenges in the Promotion of Filipino Culture, Values and History based on the 2019 Regional Development Report which was presented by EnP. August Melody Andong, Senior Economic Development Specialist of NEDA-VI; the Nomination of Mr. Peque Gallaga for the National Artist Award for Film and Broadcast presented by Ms. Tanya Lopez, Artistic Director of The Performance Laboratory, Inc.; and the Sharing of the Best Practice on the Indigenous Fiber Fashion Fair of the Province of Iloilo presented by Mr. Gilbert Marin, the Iloilo Provincial Tourism and Culture Officer.

To address the challenges and hasten the promotion of Filipino Culture, Values and History, the RCHAC will initiate the creation of a social media account to promote and develop informational materials on the Western Visayas culture, arts, values and history that can be posted online.  The Committee will also have a small group meeting to discuss the various arts and culture competitions conducted by the provinces and harmonize such competitions into one regional competition.  The aim is to popularize and motivate learning of the youths on Filipino culture, arts and history.

Taking into account that Mr. Gallaga has brought fame and recognition to Western Visayas as one of the influential and well-acclaimed directors in Philippine cinema, an RCHAC endorsement was passed to support the nomination of Mr. Gallaga as National Artist./AAAndong, PFPD, NEDA-VI