CAMARINES Sur Rep. LRay Villafuerte has proposed that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) enhance its process of identifying and documenting the country’s cultural heritage resources to ensure their preservation and proper use.
Under House Bill (HB) 7949, Villafuerte sought improvements in the cultural mapping program of the NCCA, and enlisted local government units (LGUs) in helping the body periodically monitor and evaluate nationally and locally declared cultural properties and other tangible and intangible forms of heritage.
“Improving our cultural mapping is important for our nation to see clearly our rich heritage and what we stand to lose. The imprints of our identity as Filipinos are numerous from our languages and traditions to food, craft, and fashion,” Villafuerte said.
The bill, which amends Republic Act (RA) No. 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, mandates LGUs to conduct a comprehensive heritage mapping of their respective areas of jurisdiction.
Their inventory should include (1) tangible movable heritage, (2) tangible immovable heritage, (3) intangible heritage, (4) natural heritage, (5) cultural institutions (6) significant personalities and (7) creative industries, the bill states.
“With advances in transportation and communication technology, interaction and integration of cultures and economies become inevitable. Filipinos are increasingly open to assimilating what the rest of the world has to offer. In doing so, however, it is important to preserve our unique Filipino identity,” Villafuerte said.
To ensure that immovable national cultural treasures are not defaced, relocated, or changed, Villafuerte also sought the amendment of the law to include the provision stating that the protection of such properties “shall also take into consideration the maintenance of the integrity of its visual corridor and/or line of sight.”
LGUs are also encouraged under the bill to seek assistance from non-government organizations, cultural organizations, academic institutions and private institutions in undertaking their cultural mapping activities, provided that these groups adhere to Philippine Culture Statistics Framework (PCSF) standards set forth by the NCCA.
All findings and outputs of the LGUs are to be submitted and registered in the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP), Villafuerte, a former CamSur governor, stated in his bill.
Villafuerte said LGUs should also work with the various government agencies involved in cultural preservation.
These include the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) “for the institution of cultural awareness in state universities and colleges (SUCs); and strengthening of culture, heritage, arts and history researches that impact on community development.”
LGUs should also team up with the Department of Agriculture (DA) to document heritage crops, products and food sources that sustain the indigenous local communities; and conduct an inventory of natural fiber and research on other non-traditional fibers in the country, Villafuerte said.
Villafuerte said his bill also seeks to improve the cultural education of Filipinos as it mandates the Department of Education (DepEd), the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) and CHED, in consultation with the NCCA, to include the conservation, preservation and significance of cultural heritage properties in their teaching programs.
The Camarines Sur lawmaker said he has also proposed under the bill that LGUs closely coordinate with the following government agencies in implementing their cultural mapping programs:
· DepEd for the institution of cultural awareness in basic education; capacity-building program for teachers in mapping heritage resources of local communities and cultural pedagogy; and localization and the contextualization of educational material and content based on the localities’ cultural map to cultivate awareness and pride in community identity;
· Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) for the inventory of natural parts, biodiversity, and endemicity; enforcement of protection and conservation in natural heritage sites; research on the ecosystem services of the environment to the lives of the people; and promotion of the concept of cultural landscape for sustainable development;
· Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) for awareness building on cultural heritage sensitivity; and institution of guidelines for its programs on heritage zones and places of natural and cultural significance;
· Department of Science and Technology (DOST) for application of research in conservation of materials and structures; documentation of resiliency mechanism of communities during disasters and calamities; and inventory on natural resources of dyes and other pertinent research and development for the textile industry sector in the country;
· Department of Tourism (DOT) for their existing tourism plans for declared national (including those in the local and regional level) and world heritage sites; development of culture based programs for declared national (including those in the local and regional level) and world heritage sites; and capacity building tourism sector in culture-based stories and experiences in the tour destinations; and awareness building on cultural sensitivity;
· Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) for the incorporation into the national industry development agenda; development of cultural heritage-based product and entrepreneurship program; and institution of cultural sensitive, fair trade promotions and programs;
· Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) for the strengthening of the comprehensive land use plan development that respects the value of heritage sites and zones; and capacity building of local chief executives and the Sanggunian on culture-based governance;
· Department of Health (DOH) for the inventory and research on local health and well-being practices; and research on herbal medicine and other traditional therapeutics;
· Department of National Defense (DND) for awareness building on the culture, heritage and history as basis for conflict settlement; and culture based approach in trauma counseling process;
. Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for the enhancement of the Philippine cultural diplomacy; and active participation in the programs of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) conventions and other international organizations;
· National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) for the promotion of the documentation of indigenous peoples’ practices, representations, expressions, knowledge systems; and mainstream the indigenous knowledge systems skills and practices (ikssp) in national development agenda; and
· Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) for the development of information and communications technology (ICT) appropriated for improving public access, resource sharing and dissemination of cultural heritage information.