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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Preservation and Maintenance of Our Heritage Sites

The demolished ancestral house of Teodora Alonzo - the mother of Dr. Jose Rizal

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Heritage sites include nature preserves, historic structures and places. The Philippines is rich in heritage sites due to its abundant natural resources and the rich cultural legacies we got from the early colonizers.

Natural resources such as mountains, lakes, underground rivers, forest and coral reefs are examples of nature preserves abundant in this country while, our Malay forefathers, the Chinese, Spaniards, Americans and the Japanese colonizers helped shaped our cultural heritage such as the Catholic churches, buildings, bridges, houses, monuments, landmarks, gardens and other edifices.

The question is whether the Philippine government is serious in supporting the preservation and maintenance of our heritage sites. I believe our government is half serious on this matter. Though, we have Republic Act #10086 known as the Lawphil Project as an example, the government still relays its preservation on the care of private and non-governmental organizations.



USS Guardian stuck in Tubbataha Reef

Lesser budget is provided by the government that it could not support the maintenance. There is also leniency on implementing the laws. The destruction caused by the earthquake of the old Catholic churches in Bohol will take time to be restored to its original state because of lack of funds. The leniency of the local government of Banaue resulted to the proliferation of residential houses in the rice terraces. The permission given to the foreign skateboarders in the rice terraces is an insult to the hundred year old nature's wonder.


The minimal damage fee of only P12,000 per square meter of destruction to the coral reef of Tubbataha is a very small amount compared to the irreparable damage to the corals that will take years to re-grow. There are also local government heads that did not care about old stuctures that played part in our history like the former mayors of Manila and Laguna.

In Manila, Atienza allowed the demolition of historical Manila Jai-Alai. The former Mayor Lim also allowed the building of Torre de MANILA condominium that would destruct the view of the Rizal monument in Rizal Park. The two had no regard for the old entertainment place, the Metropolitan Theater. In Laguna, the local government did not care about the old house of the mother of Jose Rizal. The house is currently half-demolished, thanks to the private organizations and people who have concerns for our heritage. These are just few of the lenience and delinquencies of our government.

Compared with other countries, the Philippines is left behind when it comes to the preservation and maintenance of our heritage sites. Singapore and European countries for examples are still using their old buildings as boutiques, museums and tourist attractions while in our country, demolition of old and historic buildings are done to give way to malls.

Younger generations should be taught in school the values of giving importance to the cultural heritage in order to instill in their minds the pride of place and strengthen our own identity. We need to preserve our heritage, those that formed part of our history and legacy for our children and the next generations to come.

Jai-Alai building during the early days, now gone
Residential houses destroys the scenic view of the Banaue Rice Terraces
The distracted view of Rizal monument when the construction of Torre de Manila condominium is finished
Centuries old Catholic church in Bohol destroyed by the earthquake
Another centuries old Catholic church in Bohol destroyed by the earthquake
The forgotten Metropolitan Theater in Manila
The Manila Metropolitan Theater on its glorious days

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