Press Release
July 3, 2011

Legarda Calls for Protection of Ifugao Rice Terraces

Senator Loren Legarda today reiterated her call for the protection of the Ifugao Rice Terraces following the spread of reports about its inclusion in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization's (UNESCO) list of endangered sites. Legarda said that the Ifugao Rice Terraces has been dubbed as an Eighth Wonder of the World and inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1995 by the UNESCO. However, it was included in the 1999 World Monument Watch's list of 100 most endangered sites and the 2001 UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger due to its deterioration.

"The Philippine Rice Research Institute discovered that worms were damaging the roots produced by germinated rice seeds aside from eroding the terraces by digging out their walls; while rats were eating the rice flower heads and contributing to the terraces' erosion with their burrowing," she explained.

Furthermore, the UNESCO noted that the degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces is the result of the absence of the necessary monitoring mechanism and management plan to preserve and ensure the sustainable development of the national landmark.

"I urge concerned government agencies, particularly the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office, to ensure that various efforts are in place to save this World Heritage Site from total degradation," the Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities appealed.

"We have to immediately address growing concerns over the many issues surrounding the worsening state of the rice terraces, in order to determine whether remedial measures must be introduced to ensure that this national treasure is sustainably protected," Legarda stressed.

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