Cebu’s creative sector sets goals to sustain Unesco title

Johanna O. Bajenting

THE creative community in Cebu will formally launch Cebu as a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) Creative City of Design by December, as it bares plans to sustain such recognition moving forward.

Butch Carungay, private sector head for the Creative Cebu Grid, said they are now resource mapping, analyzing gaps and conducting strategic alignment to answer to the challenge of sustaining the global recognition.

“Now, it’s really being very careful as we go into this implementation phase that we really choose the right projects and collaborate with the right groups and partners to get them done in a way that makes sense, expedient and effective,” he said.

The Creative Cebu Grid is composed of various local government units headed by the Cebu City government, government agencies with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) at the helm, academe with the University of the Philippines-Cebu and the private sector headed by the Matiq Hub.

“We’re getting feedback and we’re also identifying any lingering gaps that we didn’t identify before and how to bridge those gaps. We’re 80 to 90 percent there but we just want to make sure that this will be implemented properly and tweak any action plans before we launch,” he said.

In years’ time, Cebu’s creative sector will work on the projects and programs which include high-impact cultural and historical events that highlight Cebu’s brand of design such as the Sinulog, Gabii sa Kabilin, Cebu Design Week, and the Quincentennial commemoration of the 500th year of Christianity, among others, starting from 2020 until 2024.

By 2024, Carungay said, their end goal is to host the Unesco Creative Cities Network Conference.

DTI 7 Regional Director Asteria Caberte noted Cebu’s vibrant economy, partly attributed to the creative sector.

She said they are also pushing for more youth to delve into and contribute to the creative economy now that it’s backed by the Unesco recognition.

“DTI will be the enabler for them. And there will be no letup from us to really push them because this is priority to us,” she said.

Caberte said they are already knocking on the doors of the business community and other crucial stakeholders to partner with them in implementing the action plans after Cebu’s creative city designation.