As the country celebrates National Arts Month, Camarines Sur 2nd District Representative Gabriel Bordado Jr. called on the national government to strengthen the promotions of arts, saying it can be instrumental in driving tourism growth.
Former President Corazon Aquino declared February as National Arts Month under Presidential Proclamation No. 683. It is during this time that Filipino artists are honored for their contributions to the country’s history, culture, and overall development as a nation.
“It is unfortunate to note… that for many people art comes second fiddle to
fields deemed more serious, lucrative, or worthwhile such as business or science. It is not viewed as a significant profession, but as a luxury and as a hobby to be pursued on the side,” Bordado lamented.
Therefore, he said, a month-long celebration of the arts might be seen as a frivolity, particularly at a time when the country is still struggling to shake off the pandemic’s ill effects.
However, Bordado noted, arts provide direct benefits for the country’s economic activity. The sector creates more jobs especially for the marginalized people and improves the quality of products and services.
“When creativity is effectively interwoven into various fields, we are able to build better roads and infrastructure, innovate processes, advance technology, elevate the natural beauty of our surroundings, and provide solutions to different challenges that may arise,” he said.
He said that in tourism, the art sector is very vital as it encourages the rest of the world to see our distinctive culture through many creative endeavors and disciplines.
Prior to the pandemic, tourism contributed around 13 percent to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP). The Tourism Direct Gross Value Added (TDGVA), the gross value added generated by tourism industries and other industries of the economy, amounted to P2.48 trillion in 2019, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority.
Meanwhile, Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco said that in 2022, over 2.65 million foreign tourists visited the Philippines, raking in roughly 3.82 billion U.S. dollars in revenue.
Bordado also said that in sectors such as education, art is invaluable in encouraging young minds to learn and understand different subjects and areas.
“It is a great motivator for the youth to grow into productive, learned, and empathic members of society. All of these allow the country to create a more empowered citizenry, generate more income, and advance in our development as a nation,” he pointed out.
He said that while the art sector’s profitability cannot be disputed, more than its commercial advantages, is is also an integral part of our humanity.
“Creativity and the need to express it is as crucial as our need to eat, to breathe, to feel, or to seek connection to other human beings. It allows for self-expression and reflection. And it is through the different mediums of art – such as literature, theater, dance, music, painting, and more – that humans are able to make better sense of the world and of the other souls inhabiting it,” Bordado added.
He said that as Filipinos, art plays a valuable role in strengthening our sense of nationalism. Seeing our history and culture translated into different disciplines defines and binds Filipinos as a people.
He said that it is through the works of Filipino artists that generations after generations are able to learn and understand our collective triumphs and hardships as a nation.
Furthermore, he said art is a language that transcends time, race, age, gender, educational attainment, religion, or socio-economic class.
This year, the theme of the National Arts Month is “Ani ng Sining, Bunga ng
Galing.” It alludes to the bounty of extraordinary, one-of-a-kind works borne from the passion and talents of the Filipino artists. Despite the dismal situation we currently find ourselves in, beauty and excellence could still spring and thrive. It is a stark reminder of our capability to heal and rise above our obstacles, and the capability of art to restore and reinspire our drive for progress and growth as a nation.