After UNESCO citation, Baguio City forms Creative Council for Crafts and Folk Arts

December 29, 2017 - 8:31 AM
A street performer joins the many artists in making Baguio the first Philipine City to be included in the list of UNESCO's network of creative cities. Photo by Aldwin Quitasol for InterAksyon.

BAGUIO CITY—Last October, Baguio City was included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) 64 Creative Cities from 44 countries that brought pride to Baguio residents especially artists who contributed in making Baguio as such. Now, government and private stakeholders are exploring the concept of a “creative economy” as a means of making creativity as a component of the city’s urban development.

Baguio City Council Committee on Tourism chairman Elmer Datuin, in a recent interview, told InterAksyon that representatives from the government and private sector convened recently with the aim of “maximizing Baguio City’s membership” to the UNESCO Creative Cities Network.

On December 16, a small-group strategic planning session was initiated by Department of Tourism (DOT) Regional Director Marie Venus Tan and University of the Philippines (UP) Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos together with the newly formed Baguio City Creative Council for Crafts and Folk Arts.

According to Tan, the Creative Economy Development Council of the Philippines is led by its president Paulo Mercado who has been guiding the city in its Creative Cities Network endeavor and who presented the concept before the creative council members composed of artists in the industries of weaving, carving and sculpture, metalcraft, visual and performing arts, music and literature and the concerned local government unit office representatives.

Rovillos added that Mercado envisions Baguio City as a model or pioneer site for a creative economy where creativity will be tapped as a strategic factor in attaining sustainable development.

He said Mercado expressed willingness to work with the city in clustering the various arts groups in the categories of crafts and folk arts and create avenues by which each group can unite their efforts and work together to further develop and promote their crafts and artistry as a primary tourist attraction and, at the same time, uplift their livelihood.

Datuin noted, “The idea is for these loose businesses to grow into their full potential and become large-scale industries to benefit both the city and the artists through the concept of creative economy.”  

Datuin explained that the initiative is in keeping with the poverty alleviation end of the 17 sustainable development goals set forth under the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development that is described as a “bold new framework for development cooperation over the next 15 years.”

He added that the creation of the local creative council is crucial to the achievement of the goals of the creative cities and the members will also form part of the committee on culture and arts that will be created by the city council through an ordinance.

Besides being included in the 64 creative cities because of remarkable art crafts, and performing arts among others, Baguio City is also a popular tourist destination among local and foreign artists.