Legarda Pushes for Provision on Heritage Sites Conservation under 2015 Budget

November 20, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda, Vice Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Finance, is proposing to include in the 2015 National Budget a provision that will ensure the protection of heritage sites and structures all over the country.

Citing the destruction of many historical structures—among the most recent include the Art Deco Michel Apartments, the Army and Navy Club and the Admiral Hotel in Manila, the Bancal Bridge in Zambales Province, and the Dampol Bridge in Nueva Vizcaya—Legarda said that Congress must act now to protect the country’s built heritage.

“We wish to propose a special provision that would prevent the use of public funds for infrastructure projects that will destroy or alter built heritage, open spaces, and cultural landscapes regardless of whether or not these were previously declared by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), or the National Museum,” she stressed.

The Senator said that renovation of built heritage and infrastructure projects on heritage sites will only be allowed after due consultation with the public and stakeholders, which consultation shall be administered by the NCCA. She said that there might be instances when such infrastructure projects may be necessary especially if the heritage structure may put at risk public safety.

Moreover, Legarda also proposed a special provision for the preservation and restoration of existing Gabaldon school buildings as part of the preservation of the country’s cultural heritage.

Gabaldon school buildings were designed by American architect William Parsons and funded through Act No. 1801 authored by Philippine Assemblyman Isauro Gabaldon. They have high ceilings, spacious corridors and rooms that are divided by wooden collapsible partitions with wide windows made up of capiz shells.

“I am confident that our agencies tasked to protect our culture and heritage are committed to their duty. That is why we continue to empower them by providing them with sufficient budget and manpower. These special provisions aim to give further support to our cultural agencies to effectively carry out their mandate,” said Legarda.