In celebration of the National Heritage Month 2021, the NEDA Regional Office (NRO) MIMAROPA conducted the Webinar on MIMAROPA Cultural Heritage on May 26 through Zoom and Facebook Live. The webinar  showcased the UNESCO World Heritage Sites and some of the indigenous peoples (IP) cultures in the region.

The activity, which aimed to promote public awareness on the conservation and promotion of Philippine cultural heritage and the Filipino identity, especially in the MIMAROPA region, in this time of health emergency, was participated in by regional line agencies, local government units, representatives from indigenous peoples groups, faculty and students of state universities and colleges, and the private sector

Regional Director (RD) Agustin C. Mendoza of NRO MIMAROPA, in his opening remarks, emphasized the need to deepen the appreciation of culture to ensure that the region’s diverse culture is protected and valued despite the challenges the country is facing brought about by COVID-19 pandemic. He also highlighted that culture plays a vital role in development planning and acts as driver and enabler of the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainable development.

National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Executive Director Al Ryan S. Alejandre also graced the event and thanked the cultural frontliners, project implementers, and collaborators in the arts and culture field. In his recorded message, he emphasized that cultural heritage plays a vital role in strengthening Filipino identity. He encouraged the participants to continue the conservation and appreciation of culture and heritage and to extend it to their communities and families so that the appreciation can be amplified to the general public beyond the arts and culture sector.

Protected Area Superintendent Elizabeth A. Maclang of Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PPSRNP) discussed the story on safeguarding the PPSPRNP particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. The PPSRNP is one of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in MIMAROPA.

Provincial Officer for Oriental Mindoro  Reynante S. Luna of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP),meanwhile, provided the participants with a glimpse of the culture of Mangyans, which he clarified is comprised of nine groups that have different traditions, practices, perspectives, and ways of living.

Meanwhile, former Commissioner Dionesia O. Banua of the NCIP, together with OIC Provincial Officer for Palawan Mary Ann delos Santos of NCIP, presented the culture and traditions of the different groups in Palawan including the Tagbanuas.

Division Head Flora Roxanne S. Portus of the  Culture and Arts Division of Calapan City presented the cultural and heritage initiatives in the city and highlighted their efforts on cultural mapping and the restored antique furniture set owned by City Mayor Arnan C. Panaligan.

NRO MIMAROPA Assistant RD  Bernardino A. Atienza, Jr. delivered the closing remarks and thanked everyone who attended the webinar. He expressed hope that all have gained a better understanding on the efforts being made by different untiring and unwavering groups,  in promoting and conserving the heritage sites and indigenous cultures.

He emphasized that the Filipinos can still achieve success in strengthening the advocacy of preserving and conserving culture and heritage sites through unity in diversity amidst the challenges brought by the pandemic.