Press Release
April 8, 2010

Cultural Heritage Act signed into law

The National Cultural Heritage Act, which aims to protect and preserve the country's cultural treasures, was signed into law by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday.

The law, principally authored by Senator Edgardo J. Angara, provides a comprehensive framework for the preservation of Philippine cultural heritage including cultural sites, old buildings, monuments, shrines, and landmarks that have cultural significance and historical value.

"The signing into law of the National Cultural Heritage Act is a serious step in preserving our cultural treasures. In a deeper sense, the law affirms our identity as a people," he said.

Angara noted that there has been observations of "cultural neglect", as many cultural heritages have been destroyed over the years.

"The country has painfully witnessed the defacement, if not complete destruction of buildings and other historically or artistically significant structures, bridges, parks and other public spaces or landscapes. Catholic churches have been unsystematically renovated, and relieved of precious and significant materials such as beautifully wrought religious images of ivory, and wood, relleves, even the silver frontals of altars," he said.

The law ensures effective coordination among concerned agencies in order to avert the diminution, depletion and destruction of the country's cultural heritage. It aims to do this by instituting mechanisms for better management of cultural properties such as creation of categories and privileges for cultural properties, institutionalization of Heritage Zones, and documentation of traditional and contemporary arts.

Angara stressed the importance of preserving the country's irreplaceable cultural and historical possessions, as well as inculcating among Filipinos the importance of protecting our heritage.

"Investing in the preservation of our heritage would prevent cultural bankruptcy in the future," he said.

"There is a serious need for us to know deeply and celebrate our national heritage - it must become a mandate for every Filipino. By preserving our national heritage, we keep our integrity as a people," said Angara who is the principal author of laws which established the National Museum and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.

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