Senator Legarda proposes establishment of culture and arts department

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Sen. Loren Legarda wore an all-Filipino outfit on Monday (July 27).

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — Senator Loren Legarda filed on June 30 a bill seeking to set up a new department that will enhance the promotion and preservation of the country's cultural heritage.

Legarda, who chairs the Senate committee on finance, seeks to replace the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) with the Department of Culture and the Arts in Senate Bill No. 31.

The bill provides that the new department shall continue to exercise the powers and functions of the NCCA,  as provided under Republic Act 7356 or the "Law Creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts."

These powers include not only implementing programs that promote Filipino arts and culture locally and internationally, but also providing funding and grants to support and protect artists and cultural workers.

Legarda said the proposed measure addresses the need for a clear policy framework and a lead agency that will preserve and sustain traditional arts, crafts and local industries deeply ingrained in the Filipino culture.

"We need an empowered agency that will adequately support the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of a Filipino national culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression," Legarda said.

The new department shall consist of a Secretary and five Undersecretaries for: the Arts, Cultural Heritage, Cultural Dissemination, Cultural Communities and the Traditional Arts, and International Linkages.

Among the agencies that will be under the department are the Film Development Council of the Philippines, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, the Cultural Center of the Philippines, the National Museum, the National Library of the Philippines, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the National Archives of the Philippines and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.

CNN Philippines Digital Producer VJ Bacungan contributed to this report.