By Dodong Valencia
SAN JOSE, Camarines Sur --- The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), through its Executive Director, Rico S. Pableo Jr., has approved the request of Mayor Antonio B. Chavez that the local government of San Jose may avail of a cultural mapping project presently undertaken by the commission, the over-all policy making and coordinating agency for the culture and the arts pursuant to RA 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
In a letter-request dated January 16, 2018, the mayor emphasized that in line with his all-inclusive thrusts and approach of governance, and in compliance with law which mandates LGUs to maintain an inventory of cultural property under its jurisdiction and to furnish NCAA a copy of its inventory, the identification and determination of a distinct local heritage and the provision of a cultural profile of the municipality, is one of his priority programs.
The project started last March 15, 2018, at the Sangguiang Bayan Session Hall, wherein two representatives from the commission namely, Gladys Argonza, Project Coordinator and Prof. Arvin Villalon, Cultura Mapping Coordinator, were sent here conduct the “Scooping and Orientation” for Cultural Mappng.
The orientation was participated in by various stakeholders like the academe from Partido State University, DepEd, related government workers, concerned agencies, cultural advocates and workers and selected tourism and hospitality management students.
Vice Mayor Virgilio E. Panuelos, other members of the Sangguniang Bayan, department heads of LGU San Jose, Maria Fe. Cilos, PSDS of San Jose District, were also present during the event.
In said orientation , the basics, principle and objectives of cultural mapping were explained to participants, and further defined cultural mapping as “an approach used to identify, record, and use cultural resources and activities for building communities, where communities map what is important to them”.
“Through cultural mapping, the LGU and other stakeholders can identify the distinct cultural heritage of their community and at the same time can properly record a heritage resource for future reference. Moreover, the process can generate interest on heritage resources among users and non-users of cultural properties. Eventually, they can develop or establish necessary heritage conservation councils who shall lead in the conservation of the local heritage as well as develop legislation, bills, and guidelines for safeguarding the cultural heritage of the community”, the lecturer added.
It was also emphasized that the fundamental objectives of mapping are a.) to understand basic frameworks on cultural heritage and culture in the context of RA 10066 and other laws and mandates; b.) to appreciate the value of the various cultural resources of the community; c.) to apply the different tools and methods for gathering, classifying, and analyzing local cultural data and information through the conduct of cultural mapping; d.) to consolidate local culture profile and generate baseline data for cultural statistics; and e.) to recommend mechanisms to integrate profiles and baseline statistics in LGU development, plans, programs and activities.
Later, it was formally announced that the next phase of the process will be the training proper of selected cultural mappers who must be residents of the community for purposes of economy, convenience, reverence and familiarity. It was agreed by the representatives from NCAA and LGU that the training will be tentatively slated on the first week of June, this year.
The NCAA informed the participants that LGU San Jose is very lucky to be one of those recipients to be assisted by the agency over a more or less two thousand pending requests from other LGUs throughout the country. Thus, the NCCA through its representative conveyed his thanks to San Jose for heeding to the importance of mapping, and likewise congratulated it as the first and only recipient of mapping project in the entire province.
“A privilege of a recipient-LGU, once accommodated, the NCCA will be infusing a total amount of P500,000.00 fund in a form of technical assistance in favor of said LGU, besides the actual benefit of the project represented by its output which are the heritage and properties mapped that are to be officially recognized, documented and accredited by the agency.” , said the NCCA representative .