Saturday, March 23, 2019

Phil. Arts Festival for Children Held in Iligan City

(Thursday, 22nd day of March 2018)


ILIGAN CITY – The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCAA), the Philippine Association for Citizen with Developmental and Learning Disabilities, Inc. (PACDLD), National Council on Disability Affairs (NCDA), DepEd, and the City Tourism Office joined hands to hold “The Philippine Arts Festival for Children in Marginalized Communities Art Exhibit” at the Ethnic Center on March 17, 2018.

Students from different schools in Iligan City that offer learning to differently-abled children and students from marginalized communities came together for the first time to celebrate diversity and unity through music, dance, and arts.

According to Ms. Jean Gonzales, President, PACDLD, they had a consultation with the mayor last month. Their proposal to the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) was to bring the Philippine Arts Festival to the children in marginalized communities. NCCA chose Iligan to host the pilot event. This is the first in Mindanao as PACDLD is based in Manila and their previous projects were done within Manila area only. Ms. Gonzales was very glad to know that when they came here, Mayor Regencia already had a committee on culture and the arts development in Iligan.  A Mindanao Committee for culture and the arts is still a plan in the national level, but in Iligan we already have our own. The president of PACDLD finds this wonderful. The main concern of PLCDLD is to educate and support the families of PWD children. “We give parent support and counseling by referring them to doctors and professionals and by giving them trainings. We also train teachers and health personnel. We also tap the local governments. This is what we’ve been doing for the past 15 years. We conduct art workshops once a year for the children. We are also involved with policy making,” Ms. Gonzales said. “We have encountered a lot of families who have differently-abled members and what they need is to get information, they should know the law. I advise these people to read more about disabilities, we have a lot of books, and we have the internet. Observe your child, know your child, treat them like any of your children. There is no time to be ashamed about it, it is nothing to be ashamed of. In these modern times, there’s a lot of help readily available, you get that help. Do not lose hope, just go on. You’ll be able to do it,” she added.

“The goal of this project is to have an avenue for all the children with disabilities to come together and see each other, to share and see their commonalities. This is also to show the inclusivity, that everyone can be included, even though they are children with disabilities. It should not be a reason for them to be excluded from mainstream activities. The main goal of the program is for the children to feel validated, appreciated, and important. This is also to encourage them to continue utilizing their talents, whether it’s dancing, singing, or on visual arts,” Mr. Gari Apolonio, a curator from Gateway Gallery stated. “I’m a museum curator, I also teach art in college, in St. Benilde. This is my advocacy work and for 10 years now, I’ve been doing this with Ms. Jean Gonzales. Earlier, what we did is art sharing for the kids. They explained the artworks they did. It was a good experience for the kids, it’s one way of saying that you’re OK and what you are doing is good,” he added.

Along with Ms. Gonzales and Mr. Apolonio are Ms. Mayumi Gonzales (PACDLD), Mr. Alvin Carnice (Gateway Gallery), Ms. Bing Baquir (NCDA), and Ms. Shirley Tan (NCCA).

This event has been a wonderful experience both for the LGU and the families of PWD Children. A good sign that our government is working closely with the people in Iligan and is attending to everyone’s needs. This only shows that Iligan City is developing and growing to be more educated on culture as we are learning to appreciate and preserve art through the eyes of the children, OUR CHILDREN.


– –  Kristoff S. /  Web