Institute of Sulu and Mindanao Traditional Arts to preserve Mindanao traditional arts


Two Mindanao legislators have filed a bill pushing for the protection, preservation and promotion of traditional arts in Southern Philippines through the creation of the Institute of Sulu and Mindanao Traditional Arts, or INSUMINTRA.

Noting the island’s cultural diversity, House Bill No. 1580 was filed by House Deputy Speaker Mujiv Hataman of the lone district of Basilan and Anak Mindanao (AMIN) Party-list Rep. Amihilda J. Sangcopan.

Hataman, a former governor of the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), pointed out that Mindanao is “also home” to 18 Lumad tribes, 13 different Moro races and more than 64 other ethnic groups who have lived in the island for centuries.

“The effect of this cultural diversity is strongly reflected in Mindanao traditional arts,” the Basilan lawmaker said in a statement Friday.

“Mindanao’s arts such as hand weaving, metallurgy, architecture, music and epic chanting have gained prominence and recognition from government agencies as well as in the private sector. And this holds true especially in the academe. But the chance of these arts surviving popular recognition under an environment of fast-changing technological advances is in question,” Hataman said.

He said it is for this reason that he and Sangcopan are pushing for the immediate passage of HB 1580.

“There is a need for a distinct government agency that would conserve, appreciate and protect Mindanao’s arts and treasures, and that it is an urgent measure that Filipinos should support,” the former ARMM governor said.

“The creation of INSUMINTRA is long overdue. Kailangan na natin ng isang institusyon na magbibigay ng ayuda sa ating mga tradisyunal na sining at mga likha (We urgently need an institution that will support our traditional arts and artworks). This is why we are pushing for this bill and asking our colleagues to support Mindanao’s traditional arts,” Hataman stressed.

In the INSUMINTRA bill’s explanatory note, Hataman and Sangcopan stressed that traditional arts in Mindanao and Sulu must be kept alive not only because they provide income for the artisans and their communities but, more importantly, because they are the remaining proof of the pre-colonial identity of the people of Mindanao and Sulu, and of all Filipinos.

If passed into law, INSUMINTRA would be an independent government agency, but it will be actively coordinating with other agencies engaged in similar functions and activities such as the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA).

The institute will operate through a Board of Trustees reporting to the President and to Congress.

The Board would also have governance and policy-making powers, and will have the following composition: a Secretary of the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos; Chairpersons of the Mindanao Development Authority, the National Council on Indigenous Peoples, and the NCCA; a representative from the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM); the executive director of the INSUMINTRA; and five (5) members appointed by the President from the private sector who have significant backgrounds on Mindanao’s traditional arts and who are graduates of related fields specifically anthropology, education or social science.

INSUMINTRA’s secretariat will be led by an executive director that would be selected by the Board.

The principal offices of the institute will be located in Zamboanga City and in Maramag, Bukidnon. However, the Board could establish field offices in other areas on the island to ensure that its objectives are met. (PNA)

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