Full Text: Vice Mayor Shirlyn Bañas-Nograles' Opening Remarks
Cultural Mapping Project Graduation Ceremony
August 14, 2017
I am very excited about welcoming all of you this afternoon. I am profoundly honored and happy for what we have achieved in the Cultural Mapping Project of General Santos City.
First, let me tell you a short backgrounder.
When we first envisioned the establishment of the General Santos City Museum, the cultural mapping project was not part of the plan.
Honestly, we were just guided by the general idea that we construct a building and display all the old things we could find including items we would deem as culturally and historically significant to the city.
In others words, we were thinking of building not a museum but a glorified stock room.
The plan to conduct a cultural mapping project was conceived through a series of benchmarking and consultations with the National Museum, NCCA, UST, and eventually, UST-CCCPET.
It was in the ICOM conference in Bacolod City, where I met Father Didoy, that the concrete plan to partner with UST in the conduct of the project began.
In 2015, we went to UST and met with Dr. Eric Zerrudo to discuss the mapping but with the holding of national and local elections the following year; and hindered by budgetary constraints, it was only at the later part of 2016 that the project was put into motion.
By January of 2017, we were able to conduct the first meeting of the GSC Museum TWG and the UST CCCPET. The rest we say is history.
In February 15, 2017 we were able to take off with two important milestones- the launching of the 6 month journey on cultural mapping with Prof Eric as the ship’s captain with 85 enumerators consisting of History teachers of DepEd and barangay enumerators on board. And the groundbreaking – on the same date - to commence the first phase of the construction of our museum.
The road that led us to where we are now is not bereft of birthing pains and we are thankful that:
CEMCDO and the GenSan Tourism Council have accommodated our budget in the conduct of the cultural mapping project.
DepEd GenSan and our teachers who have poured their hearts and minds; and invested time and effort for this project. Our teachers have been one of the core elements in the success of this cultural mapping project.
And so with our 26 barangay captains and their respective barangay workers who also served as enumerators.
The Pioneers-Descendants of General Santos City, the UP Alumni Association, our local historians, our partners in the academe (MSU, Notre Dame, RMMC, Holy Trinity, Goldenstate, the College of Engineering and Technology of NDDU, ACLC, and the architecture students of our Arch Mike Ang who assisted our enumerators in the field as well as our friends from the media all made valuable inputs that contributed to the success of this project.
This graduation ceremony wouldn’t be possible without the support of the members of the 18th Council, department heads present here today, the Sangguniang Panlungsod Management Committee, Museum and Cultural Mapping Technical Working Group members and secretariat, of course Senator many Pacquiao and the all-out support of our city mayor.
Simultaneous with the Cultural Mapping is the first phase of our construction (the demolition and the laying of the foundation of the museum building). There has been continuous interfacing between the two teams that led to the revision of the shell of our museum building which will be presented later.
We are grateful to Arch. Michael Ang, our museum architect on record as well as Architect Lorica and Architect Sardiña. In the construction aspect there are also lots of unanticipated discoveries and circumstances that surfaced which really challenged Engineers Provido and Signar here. We are also thankful for the assistance of Engr. Paches.
Today UST-CCCPET will turnover the 26 volume result of the Cultural Mapping to our City mayor Hon. Ronnel Chua Rivera and the members of the 18th Council. We shall then continue with the succeeding phases of the construction and Father Didoy the Director of the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences will now come in to guide us in the even more bigger and greater challenges.
We have invited all of you today because we want you to be a part of this journey.
Another idea I want to share to all, is the significance of the cultural mapping project and the establishment of our museum in the realization of the city’s vision and goals of achieving complete development for the benefit and enjoyment of our constituents.
Let me call your attention to our city’s vision… “a globally competitive city where prosperous, healthy, friendly, well educated, and responsible citizens actively participate in effective governance for a sustainable future.”
When Dr. Eric Zerrudo conducted his lecture of the first module of the cultural mapping project, he talked about how heritage becomes an indispensable component of the development process.
In his signature flair of explaining complex concepts in a funny but insightful way, he cleverly titled his lecture “Heritage, Makakain ba yan?”
We always view development in the context of economic gains. We look at the concept of progress in terms of the number of business investments, higher incomes, and other market statistics. Para bang pera pera lang.
So where do culture and heritage come in?
According to UNESCO, the contribution of heritage to a sustainable human development is major. It is an important asset for economic development by attracting investment and creating locally-based, stable and decent jobs, which may be related to tourism. And what better way to promote tourism in GenSan than conserving and celebrating our heritage and culture.
But apart from economic development, our city also envisions a well-educated constituency.
Let me just say this, a person who has no idea or appreciation of his or her culture and heritage can never become a well-educated individual.
I am glad and very proud to say that the output of the cultural mapping project is one very important resource that DepEd GenSan can use in developing a curriculum exemplar on local history. (The second set will be turned over to the DepEd as well.)
Imagine our students learning not just the history of the world, of the Philippines, but of General Santos City in particular. That is now possible because of this project.
Being fully aware of our culture and heritage promotes love to our city. It gives us a deeper sense of place and belonging. Sabi nga ni Dr. Eric, it gives us the sense of home.
In achieving complete human development, we must expand our idea to include what UNESCO pointed out as the “ability to access, enjoy and care for one’s heritage.” This is essential, it said, in realizing what the Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen calls the “capability of individuals to live and to be what they choose.”
What our GSC Cultural Mapping Project had successfully accomplished put us on the right track towards realizing one of our city’s key visions.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we don’t just need to feed our mouths, we need to feed our mind and soul as well.
Thank you all and to God be the Glory.