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Legarda Bats For More Jobs in Heritage Sector

July 10, 2013

Senator Loren Legarda today said that more jobs should be generated in sectors related to preserving the country’s heritage as a way to help address unemployment while revitalizing the Filipino’s love for culture.

“The restoration and conservation of the age-old structures in various parts of the country—baroque churches, heritage houses, colonial buildings and bridges—is an area where we can generate jobs for Filipinos skilled in building methods. Moreover, when we have restored our colonial structures, we can further boost cultural tourism in our areas of heritage to produce more jobs and generate bigger income for our citizens and local governments,” said Legarda.

Legarda made the statement coinciding the ceremonial signings of the Founding of the Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc. and the Framework Agreement between the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Intramuros Administration.

The Senator said that the Philippines is a nation endowed with a rich cultural history, but the preservation of which is a continuing challenge especially due to rapid technological advancements.

On the other hand, unemployment has remained among the challenges the State needs to address. Unemployment in the country rose to 7.5% in April amid a 7.8% growth in the economy during the first quarter of 2013.

“The Escuela Taller gives us hope in addressing these two challenges as it provides skills development program related to the preservation and restoration of our tangible cultural heritage—an initiative I am fully supportive of. We are grateful to the Spanish Embassy for bringing the Escuela Taller to the Philippines and helping preserve our cultural heritage while contributing to uplifting the economic condition of the Filipino people,” Legarda said.

The Escuela Taller is a vocational school in Intramuros initiated by the Spanish Embassy. It aims to teach skills related to building construction to disadvantaged but talented Filipino youth. Students in this vocational school specialize in areas like masonry, carpentry, metal works, painting, plumbing, and acquire skills in woodcarving and stone carving.

Students have been involved in revival projects for the historic quarter of Intramuros, establishment of Vigan Conservation Complex, rehabilitation of the Rice Terraces in Ifugao, restoration of colonial churches and bridges, and other related heritage restoration projects.

“This will also contribute to a cultural revolution that we wish to advance through the establishment of folk art museums in provinces in the country. These folk art museums will be houses of heritage that will feature unique products of the provinces and their cultural music and performing arts,” Legarda said.

“Against a backdrop of a fast-changing globalized world, it is our aim to promote and sustain our traditional practices in craftsmanship and revitalize the Filipinos’ love for our culture and heritage,” she concluded.