The BIMP-EAGA strategic planning meeting focused on the socio-cultural pillar, which deals with the promotion of more people to people, education and cultural exchanges in the sub-region.

Over 300 participants from Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines joined the BIMP East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) Strategic Planning held last February 24 to 26, 2016 at the Marco Polo Davao City.

bimp-eaga meeting davao city

Image credit: Mindanao Development Authority

The strategic planning meeting focused on the socio-cultural pillar, which deals with the promotion of more people to people, education and cultural exchanges in the sub-region. Aside from the socio-cultural pillar, the BIMP-EAGA has eight other working clusters, namely agri-business, transport connectivity, power, ICT, trade and investment facilitation, tourism and environment.

During the meeting the socio-cultural cluster was divided into two working groups: the human resource development (HRD) which deals on education and technical skills, and the socio-cultural development (SCD) which focuses on culture. The latter group was headed by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, represented by its OIC-Executive Director Adelina Suemith.

bimp-eaga davao city

NCCA-OIC Exec. Dir. Adelina Suemith with other participants during the break out session. (Mindanao Development Authority)

For the SCD group, the meeting started with a review of the summary report on the October 2015 SCE meeting held in General Santos City last October 2015. During the meeting, Malaysia pointed out that apart from the academe, there are other sources of skills and education such as the practitioners who may not be based in the academe but who are experts and knowledgeable on certain skills that could be taped to harness human capital.

The group also agreed on the importance of museums and archives as sources of information in developing human capital.

On the challenges, Malaysia added that there are cross-cultural issues arising from similarity in cultures that need to be addressed by the member countries such as the intellectual property rights of each country.

To have a clear plan on the activities to be implemented in 2016, the group also reviewed the goal and objectives that were agreed upon by the participants during the previous SCE meeting. This goal centered on the people-to-people connectivity in the BIMP-EAGA, with the objectives to inculcate deeper appreciation of the BIMP-EAGA culture and heritage, to increase contribution to the socio-economic development through socio-cultural activities, and to increase the number of recognized cultural heritage in the region.

To reach the objectives, the group laid out various strategies such as promotion, preservation and sustainability of the BIMP-EAGA culture and heritage, increase in the number of BIMP-EAGA-wide socio-cultural events, and conducting and publishing of researches on culture and heritage.

During the meeting, the group decided to create a Budayaw Council to oversee the implementation of the SCD projects which they have agreed upon. The plan of activities for 2016 and 2017 include the participation in the Sabah International Folklore Festival this July 2016 where the Philippines will be sending a delegation of dancers. Invitation from Sabah State Cultural Board has been received and will be coursed through MINDA.

Another activity will be the Budayaw: BIMP-EAGA Festival, which is exclusively for the practitioners of the four member countries. It will be held in the Philippines in 2017, in connection with the celebration of the ASEAN 50th anniversary.

There will also be a round-table discussion on BIMP-EAGA history-slash-exhibition, which will be held in Kuching, Sarawak in October 2016. This event will be coordinated by the Sarawak Office for Culture and Sports. Experts from each country will participate, while the papers and proceedings will be published in Budayaw, the publication of the BIMP-EAGA activities.

The group will undertake the mapping of practitioners in the region. This will help in creating a database and inventory of artists and cultural organizations in the region. They welcome new publications, such as video documentary, journal, monograph, coffee table book and brochures, which will contain the culture, ethnicity and heritage of the region. In December 2016, the group will hold the bi-annual Friendship Games in Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Philippine participation will be taken care of by the Philippine Sports Commission.

For questions on this press release, please contact Mr. Rene S. NapeƱas, Head of the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office, at telephone numbers 527-2192 loc 208 or 09205081057 or email your queries to The National Commission for Culture and the Arts is located at #633 General Luna Street, Intramuros, Manila.