The case for a Department of Culture

It could be a high time to look into a department that can focus on culture. There used to be a cultural part in the Department of Education, Culture and Sports back in the day, but this was taken out for the agency to focus solely on education. While there is a commission focusing on culture, the connotation of culture is usually and mostly related to the arts and heritage, and largely preservation of such. In covering the history and the heritage altogether, there is a need to do the same as we chart our path to the future to oversee not just an identity, but also the behavior and national mindset, the latter being a critical element given the age of information and technology. In fact, Merriam-Webster has a couple of definitions of culture:


1. Culture as the customary beliefs, social forms and material traits of a racial, religious or social group

2. The set of shared attitudes, values, goals and practices that characterizes an institution or organization

3. The set of values, conventions, or social practices associated with a particular field, activity, or societal characteristic

4. The integrated pattern of human knowledge, belief and behavior that depends upon the capacity for learning and transmitting knowledge to succeeding generations

5. Enlightenment and excellence of taste acquired by intellectual and aesthetic training

6. Acquaintance with and taste in fine arts, humanities and broad aspects of science as distinguished from vocational and technical skills

7. The act or process of cultivating living material (such as bacteria or viruses) in prepared nutrient media.


From an organizational setting point of view, the Philippines is continuously digitizing, prompting the need for a mindset change to adapt to the new environment brought about by the pandemic. Nationally, our mindset should also be changed based on this adaptation. Doing digital transformation requires culture transformation, with generational differences being a primary factor. The country needs one as we move to the 4th Industrial Revolution to be at par with our neighbors when it comes to technology use.

The Filipinos are the most active social media users and that has an influence on our national culture. One example would be the proliferation of fake news. In an article published by Rappler, 51 percent of Filipinos find it difficult to spot fake news on television, radio or social media based on the results released by the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that was conducted from December 12 to 16, 2021 through face-to-face interviews of 1,440 adults equally spread across Luzon, Metro Manila, the Visayas and Mindanao regions. We are a country that is trusting enough to believe everything we see in the news without going the extra mile of fact-checking and verifying the information source. This forms part of the cultural transformation needed.


In our consulting work, we baseline the company’s operations and culture and the results are compared to the future vision of the chief executive officer. We conduct interventions based on this gap.

Similarly, our country’s baseline vis-a-vis the future vision of the next president must have interventions designed for our citizens to move unitedly in this direction. Several programs and national campaigns that serve as input to the overall information dissemination can be done to the many relevant issues plaguing us as a country. There is an opportunity to shape the national mindset, and culture plays a big part of it.

Kay Calpo Lugtu is the chief operating officer of Hungry Workhorse, a digital and culture transformation firm. Her advocacies include food innovation, nation-building and sustainability. The author may be reached at