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Legarda Bares Plans to Help Bring Back Grandeur of Ifugao Rice Terraces

March 11, 2012

SENATOR LOREN LEGARDA HAS ENJOINED CONCERNED GOVERNMENT AGENCIES AND COMMUNITY STAKEHOLDERS TO ENSURE THE IMMEDIATE COMMENCEMENT OF REHABILITATION PLANS FOR THE IFUGAO RICE TERRACES.
Personally witnessing the changes that have taken place in one of the country’s world-renowned heritage sites, Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, stressed that concrete and sustained actions for the preservation of the Rice Terraces must not be delayed.
During her ocular of the Bangaan cluster of the Rice Terraces, the Senator saw the need to adopt an area of the terraces for rehabilitation as a pilot project, which would hopefully jumpstart efforts to preserve this national heritage.
Moreover, during her visit to the village, Legarda expressed dismay over the structure of the houses that were no longer reminiscent of the traditional Ifugao homes-for instance, galvanized iron sheets replaced roofs that were originally made from indigenous materials such as cogon grass.
“The traditional Ifugao houses not only preserve the aesthetic value of the terraces but also protect residents from harsh weather conditions. The sturdy structure of an Ifugao house is able to withstand strong typhoons and earthquakes. This is more relevant today as we experience extreme weather events caused by climate change,” she pointed out.
During the consultation at the Banaue Hotel with government officials and community stakeholders, the Senator raised these concerns and also brought up the issue about the non-compliance with the Philippine Mining Act of some small scale mining companies, particularly those in the municipality of Hungduan, which is home to one of the five rice terrace clusters inscribed in the World Heritage List.
“Because of the complex issues surrounding the preservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, we must have the political will, financial commitment and community engagement to ensure a long-lasting and sustainable solution. We are accountable not just to our forefathers who painstakingly constructed this important cultural landscape many centuries ago, but to the next generation of Filipinos,” Legarda concluded.