Press Release
June 28, 2012

Legarda Pushes for Continued Restoration of Ifugao Rice Terraces
Hails Removal from World Heritage in Danger List

Senator Loren Legarda today enjoined Filipinos, particularly concerned government agencies, community stakeholders, and the people of Ifugao, to sustain efforts in bringing back the magnificence of the Ifugao Rice Terraces even as the famous terrace clusters had been removed from the World Heritage in Danger List.

"I am glad to receive the news that the Ifugao Rice Terraces are no longer in the list of World Heritage in danger. This should inspire everyone to exert more effort in the full restoration of the beauty and cultural integrity of the terraces," said Legarda, who chairs the Senate Committees on Climate Change and Cultural Communities.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recently announced the removal of the Ifugao Rice Terraces from the World Heritage in Danger List during the 36th session of the World Heritage Committee in St. Petersburg, Russia citing "improvements in their conservation." The terraces were included in the danger list in 2001 due to the absence of the necessary monitoring mechanism and management plan to preserve the national landmark.

In welcoming the good news, Legarda stressed that there remains more work to be done in order to ensure sustainability of the world-renowned terraces.

Earlier in the year, the Senator visited the Bangaan cluster, one of the five rice terrace clusters inscribed in the World Heritage List, and conducted an on-site consultative meeting, during which various concerns were raised including reported small-scale mining activities in barangays that host the clusters.

"Without a doubt, the Ifugao Rice Terraces are among our remarkable treasures as a nation. Visitors will be captivated by the enchanting and picturesque landscapes and will be enthralled by the magnificence of these terrace clusters, which is why it is important that we immediately carry out programs that would restore the terraces' original state of grandeur," she remarked.

"Furthermore, we have to preserve the rice terraces not only for tourism purposes but more importantly for sustenance and sustainable development, especially that traditional farming is still being practiced in the area," she added.

Legarda herself decided to restore one of the villages in Bangaan back to its traditional feel. This will be part of an initiative to promote Bangaan as a "Living Cultural Landscape".

"Our work does not end with the removal of the Ifugao Rice Terraces from the danger list. We must further ensure the terraces' sustainability so that we can proudly pass on this heritage site to the succeeding generations of Filipinos," Legarda concluded

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