Playing Godfather to Cagayan Culture

It took a government agency, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to rekindle the once-burning desires of every Cagayano to preserve his cultural heritage when the former came to town for a forum.

While the province has one of the richest cultures in this part of the world, recent events attest that it is slowly on the road to oblivion unless an aggressive program to preserve it will be in place.

For Vicky Evaretta, a retired government worker who has been into the preservation of culture and the arts, it is frustrating that the sector does not receive the much-needed boost it deserved.

“ I fear that without interventions from the government and civil society, we might lose some of our heritage,” she said.

She remembered that the last time Cagayan made a big bang at the national cultural scene was during a month-long performance by the provincial government at the then newly opened Cultural Center of the Philippines in the late 1960s.

Unfortunately, similar activities were not sustained.

“We prioritized Cagayan Valley as one our target areas for the NCCA grants for the 2016 call for proposals,” Subcommission head Ferdinand Isleta told a throng of culture advocates in Tuguegarao last week.

Isleta met, mostly with officials of the Department of Education, Cagayanos in his desire to solicit project proposals from the province.

For the last five years, the NCCA has endeavored to design strategies and develop programs to realize the different development outcomes the commission has set for itself.

In Cagayan, while there have been programs and projects on culture and the arts, majority of these are DepEd-based and majority of them thread the traditional way.

Isleta said there is a derth of proposals from Cagayan despite the annual call of NCCA to avail of grants.

However, Dr. Leila Areola, Division of Tuguegarao City Superintendent saw the coming of NCCA as an opportunity to proceed with her earlier plans on culture.
“I never realized how far the NCCA can go in terms of funding support. I think we will all go to work for culture here,” she said.

According to NCCA records, only Angadanan in Isabela and another group in Nueva Viscaya availed of the grants last year as compared to other towns and provinces in the other regions where some of them continuously avail of such assistance.

NCCA assured those interested that it will assist them in their proposals to ensure funding approval.

Areola said her division will submit various proposals on the Ibanag culture which support has never been as aggressive as those of other indigenous group.
She has committed her office to finally avail of the various grant programs offered by the NCCA.

Cagayanos will have to wait and see.

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