Legarda: Passage of Cultural Mapping law a significant milestone to continued promotion and conservation of Filipino culture and heritage

August 25, 2023

Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda calls the passage of Republic Act No. 11961, or the Cultural Mapping Law, an important milestone in the continued promotion and preservation of Filipino culture and heritage.

As the author and principal sponsor of the law, Legarda lauded the measure’s passage, which she has been pushing since the 16th Congress. In the 19th Congress, she filed Senate Bill No. 622, An Act Amending RA 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, to mandate the local government units to conduct a comprehensive cultural mapping of their areas of jurisdiction for both tangible and intangible, and natural and built heritage.

“I have always advocated for protecting cultural communities and practices as I believe that culture is the narrative that binds us as a nation,” she said.

“The institutionalization of cultural mapping was sought to make heritage an inclusive tool for local and national development. It 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) and 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 Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), including those registered by the cultural agencies, is 10,385.

According to NCCA Chairperson Victorino Manalo, 98 LGUs have already submitted their cultural mapping reports, while 177 are currently in progress. He underscored the need to take this to a higher level and enhance the number of LGUs involved in cultural mapping.

Antique, Legarda’s home province, has completed its cultural mapping. It 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.

The 21-volume set of its mapping books was launched on November 25, 2022.

Legarda, the chairperson of the Committee on Culture and the Arts, also stressed 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.

“Our history and traditions reflect our values and beliefs, but more than the cultural demonstration of our heritage, the wealth of knowledge is much more significant and valuable as this knowledge would be the proof of our uniqueness and what will define us as a human race,” she said.

“I thank the leadership of the Senate and the House of Representatives for the immediate approval of this measure. I commend the agencies that worked hard for the Cultural Mapping bill to be passed because we believe this is one of the best legacies we could give future generations of Filipinos,” Legarda furthered.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. signed RA 11961 into law on August 24, 2023. (30)