MANILA — The plan to create a Department of Culture has been given a fresh boost with its inclusion in the approved Philippine Development Plan (PDP), National Commission for Culture and Arts chair Virgilio Almario said on Wednesday.
In a press briefing, Almario said pushing for the bills seeking the establishment of the new department in the Senate was also listed as among the priority projects in the PDP for 2017 to 2022, which was recently approved by President Duterte.
The creation of a new Department of Culture would also usher in the establishment of a Bureau of Translation, an important field in education and economic development yet undervalued in the Philippines, said Almario.
“It’s a welcome development that there is an entire chapter on culture in the PDP of the National Economic and Development Authority because there used to be little reference to it in the previous plans,” said Almario.
He made these disclosures at the launch of the Philippine hosting of a three-day global conference on translation and translation studies in September dubbed “2017 Salinan International Conference: Translation and Translation Studies in Local and Global Contexts.”
The conference, spearheaded by the Filipinas Institute of Translation in collaboration with the NCCA and Commission on the Filipino Language, is expected to gather translation experts and educators from different countries to discuss best practices across the world and potential collaboration in the region.
The conference, which will be held from Sept. 28 to 30, will feature award-winning translation experts, including Almario, Lawrence Venuti of United States and Luise von Flotow of Canada.
At the launch on Wednesday, Almario pointed out that translation and translation studies have been underappreciated fields in the country with 131 full-grown languages. Translation plays an important role in helping unify Filipinos, according to Almario.
“There is a practical need for translation but it is surprising that the country lacks national agenda in this field,” he said.
But he expressed optimism that bringing the conference to the Philippines for the first time would help jumpstart interest in translation studies. A bureau focused on translation studies would also help bring proper perspective in this field, he added.
In an interview later with reporters, Almario stressed the need for a department on culture that will harmonize all cultural agencies and eliminate duplication in functions. “We need a body which can organize and supervise cultural activities throughout the country,” he said.
There are proposals in the Senate seeking the reorganization of the NCCA in a bid to expand its mandate and give the body more authority in planning and implementing the country’s programs for the conservation and promotion of culture and the arts. SFM