2019 Culture budget: responsible expense and increase in substantive activities.

December 18, 2018

The priorities of the draft budget presented for the cultural sector are the same as those raised during the electoral campaign and transition period: to generate a more just, democratic and national culture program through the inclusion of historically marginalized sectors. Facing the breakdown of the social fabric by violence, the Department of Culture has the urgent task of building peace and helping not only the material welfare, but the welfare of the soul of the communities.

The main objective of cultural policy is to guarantee the human right to culture. To this end, the Department has proposed the following tasks: redistribution of cultural wealth, community and peace culture and the strengthening of the cultural economy. The cross-cutting principles of the distribution of public spending are: austerity, legality, rationality, transparency, efficiency, honesty and the fight against corruption. In this sense, it is the orientation of the 2019 economic policy.

In the draft budget presented there are enough resources to fulfill the important activities of the cultural sector.  The cuts come in the administrative areas that correspond to the austerity plan and that were adjusted in all dependencies. Support is guaranteed to creators, filmmakers, artisans and artists, as well as libraries, museums and national and international cultural promotion. Inertial programs were reviewed through the evaluation of their design, implementation, results and the context in which they are developed. The 2019 culture budget contributes to the overall task of pacifying the country through social welfare, equality and inclusive social development.

The main reductions in the budget for culture correspond to the following: duplicity of functions, -2.1%; materials and supplies, -9.3%; general services, -5.8%; this last sector includes onerous rents, vehicle contracts, superfluous expenses and privileges of high officials. In the case of  decentralized bodies, the same logic is followed.

The aim of the Department is to shorten the path between resources and beneficiaries. The austerity plan consisted of reviewing the duplication of functions and expenditure in order to facilitate this access to resources.

Honesty and fight against corruption will be reflected in the new consolidated purchasing policy of the Department of Finance and Public Credit. In addition, it is planned to work with civil society to make the sector's calls and incentives more transparent and efficient.

The budget for cultural activities increased by 52%. This includes permanent projects with people in contexts of social vulnerability and violence. The exercise of these resources will be of direct benefit to the artists, creators and cultural collectives of the communities.

The Department of Culture is part of the national program for the reconstruction of damaged heritage by earthquakes; one of its goals is to establish schools-workshops in the affected communities so that the knowledge and trades of vernacular architecture remain in the communities for subsequent maintenance; a scheme for the prevention of natural disasters is also foreseen.

The draft budget for fiscal year 2018 to the Department of Culture was 11,716.2 million pesos. For fiscal year 2019, the increase is 677.9 million pesos, which means 1.9% in real terms, 5.3% in nominal terms.

A transparent and responsible budget, in tune with the reality of the country in terms of access to culture and promotion of arts. With this budget we will be able to reorient expenses on priority issues and implement a strong policy of cultural creation, development and promotion.