Senator Alan Peter Cayetano on Tuesday encouraged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to come up with a budget for next year that will harness the potential of Philippine arts and culture to increase the country’s “soft power.”
In an interpellation during the Senate briefing on the proposed 2024 budget of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Cayetano said being a country of relatively less military and economic power, the Philippines can gain power by increasing its influence in the field of arts, culture, and sports.
“Kapag sinabi mong power, it’s basically the ability to get someone else to act the way you want them to act,” he said, adding it is manifested through different ways such as “authority, legitimacy, influence.”
“If you talk about visual artists, paintings, sculptures, grabe ang potential natin,” he said.
Cayetano cited South Korea’s elevated and world-renowned culture and performing arts, which led it to quickly become a “soft power.”
“In love na in love ang marami sa kultura ng Korea. Therefore, for example, if their pop stars come here and advocate against teenage pregnancy or better immigration status for Koreans, [people support it],” he said.
The senator said the DFA can look into creating ”Filipino towns” in other countries to increase the exposure of Filipino arts and culture, similar to what South Korea did.
To further prove the potential of Filipino culture in increasing the Philippines’ influence, Cayetano cited how East Timor became a friend and ally of the Philippines after the latter’s successful hosting of the Southeast Asian Games in 2019.
“We welcomed them [warmly]. Syempre, mahirap din na bansa so lahat ng accommodations ginawa natin [para sa kanila] noong SEA Games. Hindi daw nila makalimutan ‘yan,” he said.
“For such small things that we would do for anyone – kasi hospitable naman ang Pilipino – it’s such a lasting impression,” he said.