Updated: Jan 20, 2020
MANILA – In the Visayas Region, the month of January won’t be complete without celebrating some of the country’s biggest festivals – Sinulog of Cebu, Ati-Atihan of Aklan and Dinagyang of Iloilo.
In line with this, AKO Bisaya partylist Rep. Sonny Lagon introduced House Bill (HB) 4801, which seeks to declare January as Visayan Heritage Month.
Lagon said this measure would promote the preservation of the cultural and historical heritage of the Visayan people.
Under the measure, 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 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,” Lagon said in a statement.
“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 added.
Lagon explained that there is a 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.
Lagon’s bill also 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 and Ati-Atihan of Aklan as well as other festivals in Visayas that are being commemorated in January.
HB 4801 mandates the NCCA, in coordination with the Department of Education, and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to issue the implementing rules and regulations of the proposed Act./PN