Legarda: Respect Our Culture and History, Stop Destruction of Heritage Structures

October 1, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today lamented the apparent disrespect of some sectors for Philippine heritage due to the destruction of several historical buildings, such as the Army and Navy Club and the Admiral Hotel, and urged the cultural agencies of government to work together to prevent such occurrences.


Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said “the National Cultural Heritage Act must be strictly and effectively implemented by concerned agencies before all our heritage is gone too soon.”


During the Senate hearing for the budget of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), NHCP Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno said that they never allowed the demolition of these heritage buildings. In the case of the Army and Navy Club, they only gave approval to dismantle the annex buildings, which are not part of the original structure.


“I am confident that our cultural agencies are committed to their responsibility to protect and preserve our cultural and historical heritage. We understand that there may be gaps in the implementation of the law. We will make sure those gaps are filled. It is important that we empower our cultural agencies by providing them with sufficient budget and manpower to effectively carry out their mandate,” said Legarda.


“We need to have more heritage guardians who understand the significance of our historical and cultural heritage. There are many other heritage structures under threat and our cultural agencies should implement the law with full force,” she stressed.


Under the National Cultural Heritage Act, Republic Act No. 10066, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Museum of the Philippines, and the NHCP have shared responsibility to protect and preserve the country’s cultural heritage.


Legarda also called on the private sector and citizens to also do their share in protecting the country’s heritage.


“We are all responsible for the preservation of our heritage. We do not always need to build new buildings and structures for the sake of development. The concept of adaptive reuse should be adopted so that instead of destroying our heritage structures, we can restore them and use them for a new purpose. This is already being done in Intramuros and there is no reason why it cannot be done in other parts of the country as well,” said Legarda.