Last July 18, 2020, ICOMOS Philippine members met up to discuss the situation of monuments and the current discourse of politics that surround these objects. The conversation was led by Ms. Lila Shahani, former Secretary-General of the UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines.
Ms. Shahani discussed about the dynamics of politics, national narratives and cultural meanings of monuments. It was then followed by several reactors who discussed the angles of heritage interpretation, plaza development, and cultural politics. An open forum discussion was then facilitated by Dr. Stephen Acabado, Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles
ICOMOS Philippines will be exploring further steps to think about deepening the discourse on the topic in the national context.
ICOMOS Philippines member Gabriel Caballero also participate in the global discourse by ICOMOS International entitled, “Diversify / Decolonise Heritage!” which was held online on July 19, 2020, 13:00 Paris Time. The initiative was started by ICOMOS Germany in collaboration with the ICOMOS Emerging Professionals Working Group.
Check out Ms Shahani’s two opinion pieces on Rappler. The first carries forward from the ICOMOS discussion, Rethinking monuments – “Who or what do these monuments celebrate, and what do they leave out? More pointedly, what do they erase and what do they choose to celebrate and canonize? “. The second is about ‘National’ narratives and the Philippine bureaucracy – “Who speaks (and who is spoken for) in the nation? Whose interests does it serve and represent? What does it encompass? ”