SUC heads and representatives gather to launch the Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras Project; Sen. Legarda keynotes the event

The Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras (CMPG) Project officially commenced through a Project Launch and Ceremonial Signing of the Memorandum of Agreement at the UPV LittleTheater on December 14, 2023.

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren B. Legarda, the main initiator of the project and Keynote Speaker of the event delivered her message through a video, addressing project partners and stakeholders of the project.

She emphasized that “culture defines us as a people. Our cultural heritage is an invaluable asset that must be nurtured as we work towards economic and social development…
Our commitment to cultural awareness and preservation is not merely a task for today, it is an investment in the future.” She added that, “the passage of the Cultural Mapping Law that I authored and sponsored, and the Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras Project that we are launching today are just the first of the many more programs being initiated to encourage every Filipino to embrace our rich culture. Under the General Appropriations Act of 2023, we were able to allocate 50 million for this Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras.”

Dir. Oscar Casaysay, Executive Director of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), also gave his inspirational message read by Michelle Villavert, Research Assistant of CMPG. Casaysay highlighted that, “this cultural mapping initiative extends beyond being a simple task; it is a celebration of resilience, creativity, and human spirit.” He also said that, “through this undertaking, we are presented with an opportunity to unveil the exquisite beauty that arises when diverse communities unite to pay homage to their shared history, constructing a path towards a more enlightened and vibrant future.”

Chancellor Clement Camposano, in his message underscored the fact that the Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras Project is explicitly participatory. “Our culture is a process of meaning-making. It is fundamental to our identities. As we embark on this initiative, let us embody the spirit of collaboration. Let us grow stronger together,” he said.

Prof. Martin Genodepa, the project manager of the CMPG, welcomed the guests and delegates from the SUCs: University of Antique (UA), Iloilo Science and Technology University (ISATU), West Visayas State University (WVSU), Iloilo State University of Fisheries Science and Technology (ISUFST), Capiz State University (CapSU), Aklan State University (ASU), and Guimaras State University (GSU); and LGUs Iloilo City, Iloilo Province, Guimaras, Antique, Capiz, and Aklan; while Vice Chancellor for Research and Extension, Dr. Harold Monteclaro gave the closing remarks.

Joining the event were WVSU University President Dr. Joselito Villaruz, GSU University President Dr. Lilian Daina Parreño who signed the MOA on behalf of their respective universities. They also gave a response that assured the full participation and commitment of their universities to the project.

Also present in the event were Senate President pro Tempore Loren Lagarda and Congressman AA Legarda’s representative, Ms. Marnie Payne, UA Dean of College of Teacher Education Dr. Grace Pastolero, ASU Director for Research and Development Service Dr. Melba Raga-as, CapSU Director for Research Dr. Leo Andrew Biclar, ISATU Vice President for Research Dr. Carmelo Ambut, ISUFST Director for International Affairs and Linkages, DENR Region VI representative Ms. Liza Marie Cabungcal, Iloilo City Tourism representative Ms. Junel Divinagracia, LGU Guimaras representative Mr. Lino Galea, Philippine Army representative Col. Lennon Babilonia, and Aklan LGU representative Ms. Roselle Ruiz.

A signing of the Memorandum of Agreement between and among UP Visayas, WVSU, ISAT-U, ISUFST, and Iloilo provincial LGU was earlier held at the Iloilo Provincial Capitol on December 13, 2023. Present in activity were Iloilo Governor Arthur R. Defensor, Jr.,UPV Chancellor Dr. Clement C. Camposano, ISAT-U President Dr. Gabriel M. Salistre, Jr., and ISUFST President Dr. Nordy D. Siason, Jr. WVSU was represented by its cultural mapping team. ISAT-U and ISUFST representatives also attended the event along with Prof. Martin Genodepa, the program manager of the CMPG project, and Ms. Anna Razel L. Ramirez, the overall project leader. The MOA signing was made possible through the facilitation of Mr. Gilbert Marin, the provincial tourism officer of Iloilo.

Cultural Mapping of Panay and Guimaras fulfills the mandates of the Republic Act No. 11961, also known as the “Cultural Mapping Law,” which was approved on August 24, 2023. It is “an Act Strengthening the Conservation and Protection of Philippine Cultural Heritage through Cultural Mapping and enhances the Cultural Heritage Education Program. (Carlyn Ausmolo and CMPG Team)


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