Press Release
December 9, 2014

Sen. Pia: Vigan's selection in New7Wonders search
affirms importance of heritage conservation

Senator Pia S. Cayetano today hailed the selection of Vigan City in the New7Wonders Cities search, saying its recognition among the most admired cities in the world should be a source of pride, not only for the Ilocano people, but for all Filipinos here and abroad.

"The announcement of Vigan's inclusion in the New7Wonders Cities poll over the weekend came in as a welcome development and encouraging news for all Filipinos amid the massive destruction brought to the country by Typhoon Ruby," said Cayetano, a heritage advocate and the Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

The senator added that Vigan's triumph underscores the importance of safeguarding our remaining historical and cultural treasures amid the wanton destruction of various heritage structures across the country.

"Vigan's success affirms how heritage conservation can be integrated in the management of modern cities to ensure sustainable development, promote tourism, and support the domestic economy," she noted, referring to the UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) World Heritage Site and recipient of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Management Award.

"I had the privilege of attending the 18th general assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in Florence, Italy, last month, where Vigan City was presented by ICOMOS-Philippines as the best showcase of heritage site management practice in the country," she shared.

"The whole world actually looks up to us, through Vigan City, as one of the best heritage site managers as proven by these prestigious recognitions coming from UNESCO, ICOMOS and most recently, the New7Wonders search."

She continued: "But it is lamentable that in our very own country, Vigan City appears to be one of a few localities which value our rich historical and cultural past. Heritage sites are being pillaged, desecrated and destroyed in other cities, including in the nation's capital city of Manila, where many historical structures and monuments are under threat."

The senator will file a resolution and deliver a privilege speech next week to commend Vigan City's latest achievement and call attention to threatened heritage sites across the country.

In her previous statements, Cayetano cited some examples, including the 'photobombing' of the Rizal Monument by the 49-story condominium tower, Torre de Manila, as well as impending threats to the Army and Navy Club, El Hogar Building, Admiral Hotel, Michel Apartments and the Sta. Ana archaelogical district, all located in Manila; the century-old houses in Palo, Leyte; and the Dampol Arc Bridge in Nueva Ecija.

"I commend the leaders and the people of Vigan City and Ilocos Sur province, the League of Cities which helped sustain this campaign, and all Filipinos here and abroad who took the time to cast and make their votes count in all stages of the voting process for the past two years. This is a victory for Vigan City and the entire Philippines," she concluded.

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