Press Release
October 22, 2013


Amid efforts to restore ruined landmarks from Bohol quake, Senator Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara has called on government agencies to immediately release the long-overdue funds for the rehabilitation and preservation of heritage sites.

Angara, the principal author of Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act, lamented recent reports saying that the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) has not received the seed money for the "national endowment fund for conservation" which was supposed to fund the restoration of damaged heritage structures.

The lawmaker cited Section 50 of RA 10066 which mandates that the NCCA is entitled to a National Endowment for Culture and the Arts amounting to P500 million to be contributed by the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and/or General Appropriations at the minimum rate of P100 million per year for five years.

"The Heritage Law was passed to lay the overall framework for government to identify, protect and promote the country's many national treasures. We should see to it that the law's significant provisions, including the release of funds, are properly implemented," Angara said.

According to reports, more than P100 million is needed to restore or rebuild four churches in Bohol that were heavily damaged by the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that hit the province and other parts of central Visayas last week.

The damaged churches in Bohol include St. Peter's Church in Loboc and the Baclayon Church which have been declared National Cultural Treasures, National Historical Landmarks, and Important Cultural Properties under the Heritage Law.

The NCCA, which is in-charge of assessing the damaged heritage structures in Bohol, said they will send reports to the Office of the President and the Department of Budget and Management to see if funds can be released to help address the damage caused by last week's quake.

Angara emphasized Section 7 of the law which states that "all cultural properties declared as national cultural treasures and national historical landmarks, sites or monuments shall be entitled to priority government funding for protection, conservation and restoration."

The neophyte senator has also urged the private sector, local government and other stakeholders to step in and help in the repair or reconstruction of the damaged churches.

RA 10066's Section 7 provides that incentives will be given for private support of conservation and restoration through the Commission's Conservation Incentive Program for national cultural treasures.

"Present day conservation efforts have been inadequate to avert the continuous deterioration of the country's heritage. It is our hope that with this measure, serious actions will be taken in preserving the country's cultural treasures," Angara stressed.

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