The Central Luzon Regional Development Council (RDC III) collaborated with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and successfully conducted “A Culture that Heals: NCCA-RDC III Webinar on Filipino Values and Culture in the Time of Pandemic” last 29 October 2020 via videoconferencing.

NCCA Executive Director Al Ryan Alejandre and RDC III Chairperson and Bataan Governor Albert Raymond Garcia provided heartwarming recorded messages, with the latter expressing his gratitude to NCCA for finding ways to preserve and promote our culture even at this time of health crisis. He believed that the collaboration will positively drive initiatives to highlight the role of culture and values in development, and help us recover from the ill-effects of the pandemic.

The two esteemed speakers during this momentous event were Professor Felipe de Leon Jr., former NCCA chairperson and UNESCO Philippines commissioner, and UP Baguio Professor Arvin Manuel Villalon. Prof. de Leon presented his study on Hiyang: the Filipino Philosophy of Healing which stresses that the authentic foundations of health and happiness are those activities, experiences, and conditions which enable the human being to expand and harmonize oneself with the social, creative-aesthetic, mythical, and mystical aspects of being. He also mentioned that Filipinos love to connect with each other, making it difficult to observe social distancing. But in the light of pakikipagkapwa, the act of kindness and consideration for others flourished. On the other hand, Professor Villalon shared the results of a NCCA study completed in 2019 of which he was team leader (Villalon, Soliman and Astudillo’s National Study on Filipino Values). The research will help formulate new policies on education and governance in the context of Chapter 7 outcome of the Philippine Development Plan (values for the common good inculcated and promoted). After 37 focused group discussions (FGDs) and a nationwide validation survey, 19 values influencing Filipino behavior and traits were identified and which Prof. Villalon expertly discussed in the afternoon session. For Central Luzon, results show that the top values are health and wellness, family, and education, mirroring those of the country in general. He also discussed the challenges brought by the pandemic to these values, and its negative effects on culture and the arts.

Engr. Susana Santiago, NEDA 3 OIC Asst. Regional Director, in her closing message expressed her gratitude to NCCA and to the distinguished resource persons for the successful conduct of the webinar. She then encouraged everyone to continue higher appreciation and promotion of our Filipino culture and values not just to safeguard our own culture, but most importantly use this to provide comfort and resilience, and to protect our well-being during this time of pandemic.

More than 100 participants comprising of representatives from local government units, regional line agencies, private sector representatives, and the academe (government primary and secondary education institutions) attended the webinar (Charmaine N. Sangalang, NEDA3-PFPD).