Cultural development plan 2021-2026

1. Makati and culture

Makati is one of the richest Philippine cities and is regarded as the country’s financial capital. With more than 600 000 people, it is one of 17 local government units that comprise Metropolitan Manila or the National Capital Region.

In 2017, Makati became the first Asia-Pacific city to conduct the Culture 21 Lab Workshop – a UCLG Culture Committee learning program where stakeholders, guided by experts, evaluated the city from a cultural lens. The City Government of Makati’s development agenda is mainly defined by the long-term Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) and Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP), which are complemented by the Makati Cultural Development Plan as it responds to the cultural sector’s specific needs within the framework of the city’s sustainable development agenda.

The Makati cultural development plan responds to the cultural sector's specific needs within the framework of the city's sustainable development development agenda.

2. Project goals and implementation

2.1. Main goal and specific objectives

The main goal of this plan is to mainstream culture in Makati’s sustainable development in the social, environmental, and economic spheres, which aligns with the city government’s vision and mission. Also, several major objectives and strategies were identified, including: an enabling environment that nurtures creativity and innovation; continuing arts education; a vibrant, productive, and highly-skilled artistic community; appreciation and protection of heritage; globally competitive creative industries; physical and virtual spaces for creative production; and an inclusive, multicultural and inter-cultural social participation.

2.2. Project development

The Makati Cultural Development Plan is a document that outlines strategies for the further growth of the city’s cultural sector, covering the years 2021 to 2026. It is the first-ever comprehensive plan crafted by the city government that is geared towards culture and the arts and is a definite outcome of Makati’s Culture 21 Lab Workshop. This tiesin to the key local development plans of the city, to national laws and blueprints, as well as to international cultural principles espoused by UNESCO and UCLG through Agenda 21 for Culture.

Community leaders, artists and representatives of cultural, educational, and creative institutions and organizations, educators, urban planners, and gender advocates were consulted in its formulation, giving them a voice in its crafting.

The plan contains a brief profile of the city, plan background and rationale, and sectional plans focused on the following areas:

  1. The Arts
  2. Cultural Governance
  3. The Cultural Economy
  4. Heritage
  5. Culture and Public Spaces
  6. Cultural Education

Cross-sectional areas of concern such as Social Participation, Gender Equality, and Communication are also discussed, albeit briefly.

A report on the Situational Analysis and Stakeholder Profiles that contains baseline data collected to support the formulation of the goals, objectives, and strategies is an accompanying document of the plan.

This milestone of the City Government of Makati was led by the Museum and Cultural Affairs Office and its partner consultants and was formulated in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Local Culture and Arts Council approved the plan in October 2021, while it was adopted by the Sangguniang Panlungsod (City Council) in January 2022 as part of the city’s development agenda.

The main goal of this plan is to mainstream culture in Makati's sustainable development in the social, environmental, and economic spheres, which aligns with the city government's vision and mission.

3. Impacts

3.1. Direct impacts

This is the city’s first planning document for culture and the arts approved and adopted by the city council, making it enforceable as part of our local laws. Because it is data driven, the plan provides strategies that are responsive to the current situation and needs of the cultural sector as a comprehensive, inter-agency tool to guide the local government in its programming and policy-making.

Because the plan has just been recently approved, its impacts cannot be seen nor measured thus far. However, it has been welcomed and viewed to benefit not just by the cultural and artistic community in Makati, but by all Makatizens as well.

3.2. Assessment

As a medium-term plan, the main evaluation mechanism is a periodic review. A mid-term review will be scheduled in 2024, while a final evaluation will be conducted at the end of the 5-year period, in 2026. The review will focus on determining whether or not the proposed programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) identified in the plan were
implemented successfully, and the policies and legislations were formulated and passed within the indicated timeline. The city will also measure cultural outcomes based on the targets of the Matrix of Cultural Development Indicators. Moreover, the existing M&E tools, such as the Quarterly Outcome Monitoring Report as well as Annual and Three-year Outcome Evaluation Reports, shall also be continued to be utilized.

3.3. Key factors

The key aspects for the success of this plan are based on the various dimensions on which it is focused. The creation of an enabling environment where, through the arts, Makatizens can freely express their creativity and where they can consume and participate in cultural and creative outputs and experiences through programs and policies; instruments that recognize the economic and social contributions of creative industries, and support and ensure their continued growth; instilling creativity and the beauty and value of culture in the psyche of citizens by incorporating these in the educational system, beginning in the most primary levels; the protection and management of heritage resources to international standards; extending the public realm and utilizing this for convergence and strengthening the spirit of community will promote participation and inclusivity; the effective use of arts for values adjustment and gender issues and the creation of opportunities for creatives to communicate their outputs; and finally, an enhanced cultural governance through unified and mainstreaming approaches.

3.4. Continuity

The Makati Cultural Development Plan only covers the years 2021 to 2026. As a medium-term plan, it shall be reviewed and then a new 5-year plan shall be created. It is expected that the gains brought about by the successful implementation of programs and policies contained in this plan will form the basis of our future strategies. The city’s cultural managers and workers are also expected to be better-equipped and capacitated to continue the never-ending planning cycle. This will ensure that the local government remains responsive to the ever-changing needs of the cultural and creative sector – one that contributes substantially to Makati being the best place to live.

The plan provides strategies that are responsive to the current situation and needs of the cultural sector as a comprehensive, inter-agency tool to guide the local government in its programming and policy-making.

4. Further information

Makati was a candidate for the fifth “UCLG – Mexico City – Culture 21” International Award (February– June 2022). The jury for the award drew up its final report in September 2022, and requested that the Committee on Culture promote this project as one of the good practices to be implemented through Agenda 21 for culture.

This article was written by Dwayne P. Samarista, Head of Cultural Planning, Museum and Cultural Affairs Office, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines.

Contact: SamaristaDP (at) MCAO (at)


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