National Artist and National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Chairperson-elect for the term 2017 to 2019 Virgilio Almario was sworn into office on Thursday, at the NCCA Gallery.
Chairperson Almario took his oath in front of Senator Loren Legarda as the official Induction Officer, and NCCA’s outgoing Chairman, Professor Felipe de Leon Jr., as witness; along with attending members of the NCCA Board of Commissioners for the term 2017 to 2019 and Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino Commissioners.
De Leon also presented Almario a plaque, symbolic of the official turnover of the NCCA to its new leader. After the official turnover of the Chairmanship, Professor De Leon expressed his hope that the present NCCA administration would continue to work towards the strengthening and enriching of Filipino culture.
In her speech, Senator Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Finance, expressed her support to the cultural sectors in terms of budget allocation. She also called on the heads of the difference cultural agencies in attendance to list their budgetary needs for the legislative body to address.
Chairman Almario, in return, expressed his intent to push for and work towards the establishment of the Department of Culture. De Leon and Legarda have both expressed their support and promised to work together towards the creation of said department.
According to Senator Legarda, author of the Senate Bill No. 2208 enacting the establishment of a Department of Culture, Senator Bam Aquino of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture expressed his intent to prioritize the passing of the said bill during the recently conducted Senate Caucus.
Aside from working towards the Department of Culture, Almario also highlighted the need to focus on the safeguarding and promotion of the intangible cultural heritage (ICH) of the country.
“Napakahalaga na mag-ukol tayo ng pansin, salapi at pagsisikap para mas maituon pa nating mabuti ang ating mga intangible cultural heritage. Napakayaman natin sa intangible heritage higit sa tangible heritage at yung kayamanang iyon ay kailangan nating mahuykay at magamit sa kasalukuyan,” Almario said.