By Charissa Luci-Atienza
AKO BISAYA partylist Rep. Sonny Lagon has batted for the passage of his bill seeking to declare January of every year as Visayan Heritage Month.
He urged his colleagues to join him in pushing for the passage of House Bill 4801 to promote the unique historical and cultural heritage of the Visayan people.
“The Constitution mandates for the State to conserve, promote, and popularize the nation’s historical cultural heritage. Pursuant thereto Proclamation No. 439 was issued in recognition of the need to create in the people consciousness, respect, and love for the legacies of Filipino cultural history and to raise material support for the protection of tangible and intangible heritage,” he said.
During its meeting in December last year, the House Committee on Visayas Development, chaired by Cebu Rep. Vincent Franco “Duke” Frasco deferred the deliberation on Lagon’s bill.
The Frasco panel decided to defer the discussion on HB 4801 pending the submission of position papers of concerned government agencies.
Lagon cited the need to highlight the unique characteristics of the Visayan people as among the nation’s largest ethnic groups by highlighting the most significant festivals in the Visayas region.
“The month of January is declared as the Visayas Heritage Month to highlight the major festivals of the different provinces in the Visayas such as the Sinulog of Cebu, Dinagyang of Iloilo, and the Ati-Atihan of Aklan, and other festivals to foster understanding and appreciation of the native culture and heritage of the various Visayan ethnic peoples,” he said.
HB 4801 provides that the month of January every year be declared as Visayan Heritage Month to promote the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the Visayan people.
Under the bill, all national government agencies, and local government units in Regions VI, VII, and VIII are enjoined to undertake appropriate activities celebrating the unique cultural and historical heritage of the Visayan people.
The measure tasks the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to lead and coordinate such activities in support of the major festivals in the Visayas such as the Sinulog of Cebu, Dinagyang of Iloilo, Ati-Atihan of Aklan, and other festivals in any parts of the Visayas celebrated every January.
HB 4801 mandates the NCCA, in coordination with the Department of Education (DepEd), and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to issue the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act.