Bicam report on cultural mapping bill adopted and ratified by Senate

May 23, 2023


The Senate has adopted and ratified on Tuesday the bicameral conference committee report on the Cultural Mapping Bill, amending Republic Act No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

Legarda, Chairperson of the Committee on Culture and the Arts, said the ratification of the measure is a momentous occasion as the country celebrates National Heritage Month this May.

“Our heritage is our most precious asset. It is our vital link, our irrefutable connection to the past, and the living form of the present. The passage through time of a work of art, the evolution of a historic structure, or the interpretation of practices or traditions are just some of the expressions that define our national identity,” she said.

Both versions of the Senate and the House of Representatives sought to mandate the local government units to conduct a cultural heritage mapping of their areas – tangible and intangible, and natural and built heritage – and to address new threats from a fast-changing cultural landscape brought about by a tidal wave of digital transformation.

The cultural mapping will be conducted by the LGUs with the assistance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and other cultural agencies and organizations in the country, which are delegated to provide technical and financial assistance to LGUs to comply with the cultural mapping mandate.

One significant provision of the bill, which was adopted from the House version, is the promotion and preservation of cultural heritage through an integrated education approach.

Cultural mapping has been recognized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as an essential tool in preserving the world’s heritage and cultural assets in architecture, traditional dwellings, indigenous skills, and natural heritage.

It has supported several mapping projects with indigenous communities worldwide, including collaborating with the Ifugao, the Higaunon, the Manobo, the Subanen, and the Banwaon in the Philippines.

UNESCO also recognizes culture as a critical source for mitigating and adapting to climate change. It is fully committed to addressing the impact of climate change on culture and enhancing the potential of culture for global climate action.

“Cultural mapping is a way to make heritage an inclusive tool for local and national development. Cultural mapping employs a grassroots approach that empowers local communities to identify and assign cultural value to important properties,” Legarda stated.

“With the devastating aftermath of a fire that razed the Manila Central Post Office building, there is an urgent call for a thorough and transparent investigation. With this tragedy, cultural mapping is necessary to establish and strengthen our heritage in a spirit of stewardship for the inspiration and benefit of the present and future generations,” she added. (end)