MANILA — A lady lawmaker is strongly pushing for the establishment of the Filipino Academy of Arts, Letters and Philosophy to ensure the conservation, promotion and popularization of the country’s historical, cultural, literary and philosophical heritage and resources and artistic creations.
Rep. Evelina G. Escudero (1st District, Sorsogon) is likewise seeking government support for researchers and studies on Philippine arts, culture and philosophy to provide meaningful incentives, give due recognition and organize those who engage in the same fields.
Escudero’s proposal is contained in House Bill No. 5029 to be known as the “Filipino Academy of Arts, Letters and Philosophy Act.” She sought the immediate passage of the bill, saying it is the mandate of the State to foster the preservation, enrichment and dynamic evolution of a Filipino national culture based on the principle of unity and diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression.
“One aspect that had been overlooked but is vital to the unity of a nation is culture. Culture has a cohesive effect in the life of a nation,” Escudero, an educator, stressed.
The bill provides for the creation of the Filipino Academy of Arts, Letters and Philosophy, which shall plan, formulate and implement programs for the conservation, development, enhancement and propagation of Filipino arts, letters and philosophy.
Among the functions of the academy shall be to receive and allocate State subsidies for individual artists, writers and philosophers and specific activities and programs and solicit, receive and accept donations and grants from private and public persons and institutions, both foreign and Filipino, and conduct fund drives to support its programs and activities.
The academy shall also be authorized to set up prizes, awards and other incentives for artists, writers and philosophers; recommend recipients of the Annual Republic Cultural Heritage Award, which is revived under the act and create from donations and grants a welfare fund for old, disabled, sick or indigent artists, writers and philosophers.
The initial membership of the academy shall include living artists, writers and philosophers who have been awarded the Republic Cultural Heritage Award or the title National Artist and artists, writers and philosophers recommended by their peers and appointed by the President of the Philippines.
Thereafter, members shall be elected by the Board upon recommendation of their peers. Eligible for election are those who are regarded for their contribution to the fields of literature, painting sculpture, music, literary criticism, architecture, dance, theater, cinema, journalism, history, cultural criticism and philosophy.
For the operations of the academy, an initial amount of PhP5 million shall be appropriated out of any funds in the National Treasury that are not otherwise appropriated. Thereafter, the academy shall be given an annual grant by the State of not less than PhP5 million from the General Appropriations Act.