LGUs keen on becoming ‘Creative Cities’ in Asean

THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said there is growing interest among local government units (LGUs) to become the center of creativity in various fields across Southeast Asia.

Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado said only a handful of countries in the region are included in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s (Unesco) Creative Cities Network aimed at promoting cooperation among cities that have identified creativity as a strategic factor for urban development.

“In Asean, we have a few of them,” she told reporters during the media launch of CREATE Philippines in Pasay City last Friday. She added only four cities in the 10 Asean member-states have qualified.

Out of the 116 global cities in this network, Indonesia’s Bandung and Pekalongan have been recognized by Unesco for folk arts and crafts; Thailand’s Phuket for gastronomy; and Singapore City for design.

These countries and their respective cities are noted for actively cooperating in putting creativity and cultural industries at the center of their local development plans.

“There’s still none from the Philippines, but we do have candidate cities that are very interested,” Terrado said.

In fact, when the LGUs found out there is such a recognition established by Unesco since 2004, local chief executives have shown interest to have their cities included in the Creative Cities Network.

The undersecretary cited, for instance, Baguio City, which she described as “a unique spot” that has a chance to be recognized for its ingenuity.

“In terms of folk arts and crafts, that would be a good place,” Terrado said, while disclosing that other cities are also keen to become one of the hubs of creativity in the region. “Cebu is saying they want to be there for design. We also have Bacolod and Pampanga’s Angeles and San Fernando.”

If recognized, she added this will be helpful when it comes to brand positioning thrust of the cities.

“It also attracts investors and boosts tourism. That’s the demand side. On the supply side, it’s very interesting because we have an abundance of talent and this can create significant economic activity,” Terrado said.

The cities of the Philippines, she added, have a very strong chance of being a part of the network considering ingenuity and creativity are among the strong attributes of Filipinos, hence many world-class local talents have become recognized in various fields internationally.

“Let’s dream about it. And we can start with at least one in the next 12 months. Hopefully, this year,” she noted of the upcoming CREATE Philippines that will be held from October 20 to 22 at HallOne and the Philippine Trade and Training Center in Pasay City.

The DTI, through its export-promotion arm Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions, is organizing this as the country’s first international creative industry trade show, targeting fast-growing creative sectors, such as advertising, digital art and graphic design, animation, game development, film and performing arts.

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