Press Release
March 10, 2012

Consultative Meeting to Inquire into Reported Degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces and to Recommend Remedial Measures to Preserve the Same
10 March 2012, 1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
Banaue Hotel, Banaue, Ifugao

Amidst the continuing degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces and the fraying of the traditional practices that have been the cornerstone of its maintenance for two thousand years, the need for concrete and sustained action is imperative.

In March 29, 2011, I filed Senate Resolution No. 440 which seeks to inquire into the reported deterioration of the Ifugao Rice Terraces and to recommend remedial measures to preserve the heritage. Even as the Resolution was referred to the Committees on Agriculture and Food and the Environment and Natural Resources, I, as Chairperson of the Committee on Cultural Communities, organized this Consultative Meeting for the Ifugaos who have a direct stake in this world-renowned heritage. As Living Cultural Landscapes, the Ifugao Rice Terraces can only be as genuine and real so long as the younger generations of Ifugaos practice the customs and ritual underpinning its authenticity.

Let me thank the Provincial Governor of Ifugao and the Mayors of the Municipalities for their cooperation in the facilitation of this Consultative Meeting. Let us keep in mind that this Consultative Meeting is only the initial step in a series of actions that, collectively, all of us would have to pursue to ensure that efforts to preserve the Ifugao Rice Terraces bring results that are concrete and long-lasting.

When the Ifugao Rice Terraces were inscribed in the List of World Heritage in Danger maintained by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) back in 2001, it noted among other things, the insufficient government support, the abandonment of 25% to 30% of the rice terrace clusters, and the unmanaged economic development, all of which threaten to permanently damage this valuable cultural heritage.

Last year, even as the international monitoring team sent by the UNESCO commended recent government efforts in preserving them, it noted the urgency of securing the much-needed human and financial resources to ensure the sustained implementation of long-term conservation plans.

Because of the complex issues surrounding the preservation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, a long-lasting and sustainable solution require political will, financial commitment and community engagement.

As multi-stakeholders of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, we are accountable not just to our forefathers who painstakingly constructed this important cultural landscape some 2,000 years ago, but to the next generation of Filipinos.

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