Composer, scholar and professor Felipe de Leon, Jr. is the new chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts. He is also currently the head of NCCA’s Committee on Intangible Heritage and National Committee on Music, and commissioner of the Subcommission on the Arts.
Prof. De Leon is also involved with the National Research Council of the Philippines, an agency under the Department of Science and Technology, as chair of its Humanities Division. He teaches humanities, aesthetics, music theory and Philippine art and culture at the University of the Philippines, and is a lecturer on social transformation courses at the Asian Social Institute.
Son of National Artist for Music Felipe Padilla de Leon. Prof. de Leon is also a composer who has written music for plays such as the adaptation of the Rizal novel Noli Me Tangere and songs such as “Lumuha Ka Aking Bayan,” with lyrics by National Artist for Literature Amado V. Hernandez. He has also done many studies in Philippine musicology. But his distinct contribution to scholarship is his development of the use of the arts as instruments for understanding the culture of the people. He specializes in establishing the principles of culturally-rooted governance or management for sustainable development, especially in the context of Philippine society. He is also a proponent of a holistic world view that integrates spiritual principles with psycho-physical health and social wellbeing.
Prof. De Leon has a substantial history with the NCCA. He was head of NCM and SCA from 2004 to 2007. He was also chairman of the Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan from 1993 to 2007. He was responsible for setting up and institutionalizing the award. He also became commissioner of the Subcommission on Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts (SCCTA) from 1992 to 1998. During his time, the Schools for Living Traditions were established all over the country.
He was a commissioner of UNESCO Philippines from 1992 to 2002 and chairman of its Committee on Culture (2002).
On his return to NCCA, Prof. De Leon is putting forward numerous visions and ideas for the agency and the country. Among others, he intends to promote the country as the center for performing arts in Asia with our numerous and well-recognized talents, advance Filipino creative contribution to world art; widen the resource pool of artistic creativity by involving the “amateurs” and not just the professionals; and promote people participation, local genius and cultural diversity.
Prof. De Leon strongly believes that culture is a pillar to the national socio-economic development and arts as a priming force for development, highlighting “the positive qualities of Filipino cultural heritage and creativity for the nation to be one.”
He states: “Ignorance of our cultural strengths and positive qualities as a people results in lack of pride in being Filipino. Lack of pride in being Filipino causes lack of commitment to the nation, a low level of achievement or even mediocrity.”
Overall, he envisions, through the transforming force of arts and culture, that every Filipino feels genuine pride in being Filipino and cognizant of their cultural heritage. This is the start of development.
For more details on the activities and schedules, contact NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Sanchez Napenas at (632) 527-2192 or 0928-5081057. Log on to www.ncca.gov.ph or email us at [email protected].