B y Kim Tan
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Tuesday lectured an official of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) regarding their decision to allow the controversial exhbit “Kulô ” to be displayed inside their premises.
“It’s the Cultural Center of the Philippines, not the Cultural Center of anybody. To assault the people, the sensibilities of people believing in something… I don’t think that is part of the function of the CCP,” Enrile told CCP president Dr. Raul Sunico during Tuesday’s Senate finance committee hearing on the proposed budget of the CCP and other executive offices.
Among the works displayed in Kulô was Mideo Cruz’s mixed-media collage called “Poleteismo,” which touched off vehement protests from Catholic church leaders and politicians for juxtaposing religious images with clowns, Mickey Mouse ears, and a bright red penis.
Enrile, however, said the CCP should balance what’s being exhibited against the “sensibilities” of the population.
“If you do that to the Muslim, if you do something like that, I don’t think you’ll be pardoned,” he said.
Enrile likewise said the CCP officials should remember that they are being funded by the taxpayer’s money.
“That’s why you’re called trustees, trustees of the culture of the country,” he said.
The CCP is asking for a budget of P202 million for 2012.
Sunico, for his part, thanked Enrile and said that they are “very much aware” of their duties.
Senate education committee chairman Sen. Edgardo Angara likewise told Enrile that the CCP officials have promised to review their policy on exhibits, both visual and performance.
“They’re supposed to get back to us on that,” Angara said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III had earlier threatened to slash the budget of the CCP should it fail to justify why it allowed Kulô to be displayed there.
During a previous Senate inquiry, Sunico said that the CCP board had wanted to close down the exhibit earlier but that they also wanted to uphold artistic freedom.
No motion to slash the CCP budget had been proposed as of posting time.
Also among the agencies whose budgets are being discussed are the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Institute, Commission on Filipino Language, Commission on Filipinos Overseas, National Library, National Archives, Film Development Council of the Philippines, Movie and Television Classification Board, Development Academy of the Philippines, Philippine Sports Commission, and National Commission on Indigenous People. — RSJ, GMA News