Friday, May 14, 2010

DEAR MR. PRESIDENT (May 10, 2010)

Two weeks ago, while you were tied up with your cultural shows, or campaign sorties, we did not bother to ask you if you will eventually prioritize arts and culture.
The Artist Welfare Project Inc. (AWPI) called us last April 28 to pay the Cultural Center of the Philippines a visit to draft the Arts and Culture Agenda.
AWPI incorporated what we, with National Artists Virgilio Almario and Bienvenido Lumbera, presented as a gift for Francisco Balagtas' 222nd birthday last Good Friday!
This time, this one is for you:
We from the Arts and Culture Sector of Philippine society commit ourselves: (1) to support your new administration in its pursuit of social, political, economic, and cultural progress through the promotion of good governance, transparency, and moral ascendancy that will lay the foundation for national development; (2) to unite as a sector, as we become more vigilant and determined, to advocate for the development of a national Philippine culture we can all be proud of; (3) to be active catalysts in the moral transformation of our society through the promotion of Filipino values, customs, and traditions; (4) to be formidable partners in forging national unity by addressing ethno-cultural problems and by using the arts as instruments for peace and development.
Our culture of governance has been largely characterized in the immediate past by graft, corruption, patronage politics, divisiveness and lack of morals and that there is a need to restore good governance not only within the Philippine government but in all sectors of society as well.
As citizens, we look up to leaders who are ready, willing, and capable: (1) to set the example for good governance; (2) to promote transparency in governance and consult with our sector on a regular basis on plans and programs related to arts and culture, including the choice of leaders of cultural institutions; (3) to support programs that will promote arts for social transformation; (4) to protect freedom of artistic expression and safeguard academic freedom through national policy provisions such as the passage of the new Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) law.
You can count on us to become more vigilant as a watchdog and voice in bringing forth the ills in our society as well as to promote Philippine values and help in the moral transformation of our people.
Generally, we urge you to do what your predecessors failed to do: (1) to formulate a national vision and a unified plan for artistic and cultural development in consultation with our sector; (2) to recognize the value of artistic and cultural development in the context of peace, national unity, and progress; and (3) to consult our sector regularly on the formulation and implementation of policies and programs related to arts and culture.
Your honor, please provide the necessary support structures and mechanisms for the following: (A) creative industry, (B) arts and culture funding, (C ) development and promotion of arts and culture, (D) cultural heritage management and conservation, and (E) arts in education.
First, for creative industry, we commit ourselves: (1) to establish a system of networking and linkages among members of the artistic and cultural community; (2) to undertake more cooperative ventures that would help alleviate the plight of artists and cultural workers; (3) to professionalize our ranks to enable us to practice our art as viable careers; (4) to organize ourselves into equity groups that will protect our rights as workers.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to undertake a nationwide Creative Industry survey that will determine the contribution of the Arts and Culture Sector to the national economy; (2) to develop and implement a National Creative Industry Development Plan; (3) to review existing policies and laws on the various sectors of the Creative Industry and enact new laws or policies that will encourage the development of the Creative Industry; (4) to strictly implement the Intellectual Property Law specific to the Creative Industry and, in particular, to eradicate film piracy; (5) to provide more opportunities to members of the Arts and Culture Sector to avail of foreign grants for human resource development; (6) to encourage Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to give more focus on the creative industry through training programs on arts and crafts?
Second, for arts and culture funding, we commit ourselves to improve our capability to raise and manage funds from the public and private sectors through effective arts and cultural management.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to provide tax incentives for donations from the private sector, for artists who donate their works and importation of non-locally available arts materials and equipment; (2) to encourage local government units to establish arts and culture offices and utilize their CDF’s (Cultural Development Funds) for artistic and cultural projects within their communities; (3) to provide bigger budgetary allocations for government cultural institutions; (4) to encourage and support the development of infrastructure for the arts all over the country; (5) to improve and streamline the grant-giving procedures of government cultural institutions; (6) to provide healthcare, retirement and housing benefits for deserving Filipino artists?
Third, for the development and promotion of arts and culture, we commit ourselves: (1) to utilize the media and the info-com technology as a medium for creative expression and in cultural dissemination and promotion; (2) to cooperate with government cultural agencies and departments in the promotion of Philippine arts and culture.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to undertake more regional programs that will increase awareness, understanding and appreciation of our cultural diversity as a nation; (2) to encourage the promotion and support the production of original Filipino works; (3) to enact a law that will institutionalize the proper selection of National Artists; (4) to support the promotion of Philippine artists and their works abroad in order to promote Philippine culture and improve our national image among foreign publics; (5) to support the establishment of a public broadcasting channel for arts and culture; (6) to ratify the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions which shall promote our national cultural identity vis-à-vis globalization?
Fourth, for cultural heritage management and conservation, we commit ourselves: (1) to become more vigilant in safeguarding the preservation of cultural heritage properties of our nation; (2) to cooperate with cultural agencies in the conservation of these properties.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to work for the successful implementation of the Cultural Heritage Act; (2) to issue an official moratorium on the demolition of historical/ cultural heritage landmarks; (3) to expand the School of Living Traditions all over the country; (4) to encourage and support the establishment of more local museums and libraries.
Fifth, for arts in education, we commit commit ourselves: (1) to assist government educational institutions in teachers’ training, curriculum development and production of teaching materials for arts and culture; (2) to organize non-formal education programs in arts and culture.
Will you commit yourself: (1) to implement the Philippine Cultural Education Program (PCEP); (2) to strengthen the regional high schools for the arts; (3) to encourage the establishment of performing arts groups and support artistic and cultural projects as co-curricular activities?
More power and may God bless you.
Smart man + smart woman = romance
Smart man + dumb woman = affair
Dumb man + smart woman = marriage
Dumb man + dumb woman = pregnancy
I am moody like Squidward, a bit dumb like Patrick, a little cold-hearted like Plankton, and sometimes stupid like Mr. Krabs, but, I will be here for you, like Spongebob, my friend.

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