Iligan National Writers Workshop Appeal

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Following this back story is a letter of appeal (signed by Christine Godinez-Ortega, Workshop Director) for support and donations for the Iligan National Writers Workshop. May we appeal to your sense of advocacy for the development of writing and Philippine Literature.


For the first time after 14 years, the NCCA will not support the Iligan National Writers Workshop because of a technicality: the proponents failed to meet the August 31 deadline. Perhaps an oversight on the organizers’ part, but, the failure to meet the deadline was anchored on the presumption that the Iligan workshop, already institutionalized by the NCCA together with the U.P. and Silliman workshops, did not have to go through the process of an Open Grants competition.

The situation frustrated the organizers and panellists and was a letdown for the many aspiring writers who expected the workshop to be an opportunity to hone their craft.

After unsuccessfully appealing the NCCA decision, I tried to convince my peers during a meeting of the NCCA Committee on Literary Arts that the mandate to develop writing in this country was not ours but government’s through the NCCA. If the NCCA did not wish to support our advocacies, why stress ourselves in forcing the issue? After all, scratching off the program will be the country’s loss, not ours. I tried to convince my peers to consider Commissioner Ricky de Ungria’s suggestion to postpone the workshop to next year but meet the deadline for proposals.

But the tenacity and relentlessness of a Christine Godinez-Ortega and her company refused postponement and moved the proverbial heaven-and-earth to realize this year’s workshop.

Writers and friends have come to the rescue willing to spend personal funds for transport, board and accommodations. Personal funds have been pledged to support the fellows and the workshop’s operations. There may not be enough resources from our donors for support, but one thing is certain: the workshop will push through on May 24-28.

I have joined her advocacy and appeal, and will donate my services gratis and perhaps, if personal resources allow, sponsor a fellow or two.

Attached here is her letter of appeal for support. This advocacy is contagious. I hope it infects your spirit too. Please help writing and our writers.


Member, NCCA Committee on Literary Arts


Dear Writer/Artist Friends,
This is a unique year for the Iligan National Writers Workshop. Despite no funding from the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA) this year, the 17th INWW will be held on May 24-28, 2010.
In its quest to help writers hone their craft and in the effort to create the venue and occasion for writers from various regions to promote cross-cultural ties among them, the INWW faces this new challenge head on.
After 14 years of continuous funding from the NCCA and after its being declared an institutionalized project by the NCCA Board of Directors, the INWW will not get funding this year because of a technicality. Head of the NCCA Committee on Literary Arts and Commissioner Ricardo de Ungria said the INWW proposal was submitted late. But, the INWW organizers’ only understanding is that the proponents of the institutionalized project will have to apply to NCCA for funding each year.
But the INWW, an institutionalized project, was put on the same category of projects competing in the Competitive Grants hence the INWW was subjected to a deadline along with other non-institutionaliz ed projects evaluated by the NCCA.
Contrary to the claims of the NCCA, this deadline was not fully disseminated in our region. It would have been fair for NCCA to ensure that all interested parties are informed of new policies and that it gives a grace period to all proponents of institutionalized projects for their sustainability since no corporation in its right mind will support writers workshops.
The INWW made an appeal for reconsideration to the NCCA Board through Executive Director Cecile Guidote Alvarez but this reconsideration was turned down by the NCCA in a letter received by INWW in January, 2010 signed by Guidote Alvarez and Marichu Tellano. The letter from NCCA also urged the INWW to reapply for funding next year.
This new challenge is a tough one for the INWW. But there is always the light at the end of the tunnel. Since the INWW organizers believe in consistency and continuity, implementation of the project is in May 2010.
The happy news is that individual writers and writers groups have pledged their support to the cause of the INWW.
And to all our writer friends and artists, any help, any amount is welcome in order for the INWW to be realized once more this year.
The following have pledged their support to fund the travel, board and lodging of a writing fellow from their respective schools, regions and organizations for the duration of the INWW.

Phil Harold L. Mercurio and Voltaire Oyzon, Tacloban City

Hope Sabanpan Yu, Cebu City

Elsa Victoria Martinez Coscolluela, Bacolod City

Leoncio P. Deriada, Iloilo City

Carlo Arejola, Legaspi City

Ricardo Jorge S. Caluen, Toronto , Canada

Maria C. Buenafe, Toronto , Canada

Chari Cruz Lucero, Quezon City

Servando Halili, Zamboanga City


Rebecca Anonuevo, Pasig City

Glenn Sevilla Mas, Manila

John Eremil Teodoro, Quezon City

The INWW will likewise ask for representatives and funding support from the following institutions:

Ateneo de Manila University c/o Christine S. Bellen

Ateneo de Davao University c/o Macario Tiu

Ateneo de Cagayan-Xavier University c/o Hobart P. Savior

University of Santo Tomas c/o Lito Zulueta

Capitol University c/o Atty. Jun Juarez

The panelists and keynote speaker (below) have likewise pledged to spend their own transportation, board and lodging, and, they are, like the staff, giving their services for free.

Chari Cruz Lucero

Macario Tiu

Merlie M. Alunan

Leoncio P. Deriada

Karl Gaspar, CCSR

Victor N. Sugbo

Lawrence Ypil

Carlo Arejola

Steven Fernandez

Keynote Speaker: Lawrence Ypil – Ateneo de Manila University

More donors/sponsors:

Rose C. Balacuit and family for the JY Balacuit Annual Literary Awards

Julie Lluch – free use of her house and garden for the culminating program

For its part, the MSU-IIT Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research & Extension is giving the INWW support in the free use of venues and vehicles; audio and visual equipment; printing of programs, certificates, reproduction of manuscripts, the INWW proceedings; and, support staff.
We know that despite these pledges, there are certain realities that the INWW must face, and therefore, we turn to all past writing fellows and panelists of the INWW and anyone out there with a generous heart to help us raise funds to support two more writing fellows from Luzon and one from Mindanao to complete the 15 writing fellows admitted to the INWW each year and, at the same time, allow us to have extra funds for the communications and advertising expenses, snacks and lunches for the staff, and IPAG performers in the INWW’s traditional opening program; expenses for gasoline, supplies and materials, etc. Remember, no honoraria will be paid any INWW staff or panelist this year.
All donations will be acknowledged by the INWW organizers. For details of the sponsorships of writing fellows and for your donations, please email or call us at the OVCRE, tel. [063] 2232343; [063] 2214052 loc. 113 or call Pat Cruz, cell no. 0917-716-2822;
patcruz@yahoo. com or cgodinezortega@

17th INWW Director

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