The Chairman of the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the Honourable Virgilio S. Almario was guest-of-honour at the official launching of Sentro Rizal Singapore in a ceremony at the Philippine Embassy in Singapore on Friday, 15 September 2017. Sentro Rizal Singapore is the first to open in a Philippine foreign service post in 2017.
Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio A. Morales led Filipiniana-clad officials and personnel of the Philippine Embassy and representatives of the Filipino community in Singapore in the event that saw the unveiling of the bust of Dr. Jose Rizal and the signage of the establishment as well as the ceremonial ribbon-cutting in the facilities that comprise the Sentro Rizal.
In his welcome remarks, Ambassador Morales thanked Chairman Almario and the NCCA and all those who contributed to make the launching possible. He explained to the audience the components of Sentro Rizal Singapore and the role that it plays in the promotion of Philippine culture, arts and language to overseas Filipinos.
“The establishment of Sentro Rizal is in celebration of the memory and the legacy of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal. It also fulfils our long-standing aspiration to put in place a structure that will help us consolidate and sustain our efforts to raise awareness and appreciation on Philippine art, culture and language among overseas Filipinos and their children”, Ambassador Morales said.
Chairman Almario, for his part, congratulated Ambassador Morales and the Philippine Embassy for their dedication to realize the Sentro Rizal project in Singapore.
But he said that for Sentro Rizal to be successful, the continued support and cooperation of external partners such as the Filipino community is needed. He expressed hope that Filipino culture, art and language will be promoted and preserved to be patronized by the next generation of Filipinos irrespective of where they situated in the world.
The unveiling was preceded by the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Philippine Embassy in Singapore and the NCCA on the estanlihsment of Sentro Rizal Singapore. The program was also highlighted by a performance by the Higaunon Dance Group, winner of this year’s dance competition organized by the Lupon ng Pagdiriwang 2017 in Singapore. It was followed by the traditional Pinoy salu-salo.
In addition to gracing the official launching of Sentro Rizal Singapore, Chairman Almario had an audience with Filipino writers over dinner hosted by Ambassador Antonio Morales at the official residence on 14 September 2017.
He met with Ms. Rosa Daniel, CEO of the Singapore National Arts Council and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth. Chairman Almario also had an opportunity to tour the National Gallery of Singapore, which displays a rich collection of works by renowned Filipino and other Asian visual artists.
The establishment of Sentro Rizal in Philippine embassies abroad – is mandated under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009. The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is designated as the headquarters of Sentro Rizal under the Act.