Legarda bats for enhancing preservation of PH cultural assets through cultural mapping from grassroots level

February 9, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda has pushed for an enhanced preservation of the Philippines’ cultural assets through increased participation and involvement of local government and communities in cultural mapping activities.

Legarda, the chairperson of the Committee on Culture and the Arts, stressed the significance of conserving the Philippine culture and ethnicity, and the need for changes in the heritage law to “address new threats from a fast-changing cultural landscape brought about by a digital tidal wave.”

“To further strengthen heritage conservation in our country, this bill seeks to mandate local government units (LGUs) to conduct a cultural heritage mapping of their areas for both tangible and intangible, and natural and built heritage,” Legarda said as she sponsored Senate Bill 1841 on Wednesday.

“The institutionalization of cultural mapping is sought as a way to make heritage an inclusive tool for local and national development. In particular, cultural mapping employs a grassroots approach that empowers local communities to identify and assign cultural value to properties that are important to them,” she added.

Legarda said the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), together with other cultural agencies, are delegated to provide technical and financial assistance to LGUs to comply with the cultural mapping mandate.

The LGUs, she furthered, are mandated to submit Local Cultural Inventories (LCI), which will be included in the criteria to qualify for the Seal of Local Good Governance.

Legarda noted that as of December 2022, 980 of the 1,715 LGUs have complied with the submission of LCIs, while the total number of properties registered with the PRECUP, including those registered by the cultural agencies, is 10,385.

Antique, Legarda’s home province, recently completed its cultural mapping. The 21-volume compendium was done through Legarda’s initiatives, in partnership with the NCCA, the University of the Philippines (UP) in Visayas, the Department of Education (DepEd), culture and history experts, and the Antique provincial government.

“Especially when threatened by climate change and biodiversity loss, our heritage values must be protected as a source of our connectedness and resilience, to help us get through the direst times in unison using the best available means that promote our interrelation,” Legarda stated.

“Cultural values are not fluff, nor mere luxury. They are not soft and nor are they the first to be sacrificed in the face of trial. They are, in fact, our bridge to each other and to the other side of these twin crises,” she concluded. (end)