Press Release
March 9, 2012

Legarda Visits Ifugao for Consultation
on Reported Deterioration of Rice Terraces

In a bid to get first-hand information on the reported worsening state of the Ifugao Rice Terraces and determine effective measures to preserve this national heritage, Senator Loren Legarda traveled to the Province of Ifugao for a consultation with various stakeholders.

The Senator's visit will start with a forum today on climate change at the Ifugao State University, where students and officials of the university along with representatives from the Cordillera Administrative Region - State Universities and Colleges (CAR-SUC) will participate.

On March 10, Legarda will do an ocular of the Rice Terraces and visit nearby communities to check on their livelihood activities such as weaving and wood carving. After which is the consultation with government officials and community stakeholders on the reported degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces. The meeting is set at 1:30 pm at the Banaue Hotel.

"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," said Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities.

She explained 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 United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (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.

After receiving reports that 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, Legarda filed Senate Resolution 440, which sought an inquiry on the said issue.

The consultation on the reported degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces will be attended by regional officials of the Department of Agriculture and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, provincial officers of the Department of Tourism and the National Commission for Indigenous Peoples. Community stakeholders--such as farmers, wood carvers, weavers, tourism employees, hotel owners, and leaders of indigenous peoples groups--will also participate in the meeting.

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