In November 2021, ICOMOS Philippines held the Pamanang Pasig Conference to highlight the importance of the Pasig River in light of the impending construction of the Pasig River Expressway (PAREX). Members of ICOMOS Philippines then gathered together to draft a statement of significance for the Pasig River.
ICOMOS Philippines was invited to peer review the Conservation Management Plan for Intramuros. This is their formal review.
See ICOMOS Philippines position paper here: ICOMOS Philippines position paper for Binondo-Intramuros Friendship Bridge.
The Heritage Conservation Society (HCS) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites – Philippines (ICOMOS-PH), as regards the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC), respectfully state the following:
1. We reiterate our gratitude to the cultural agencies, specifically the National Museum (NM) and the National Historical Commission (NHCP), for their declarations on RMSC as an Important Cultural Property and a National Historical Landmark, respectively.
2. We particularly note with approval the NHCP’s declaration that outlines the significance of RMSC as a historical site – as a venue for the Far Eastern Games and in subsequent athletic, religious. political, and social events; its role in World War II and its reconstruction thereafter; and its architectural design in the Art Deco style by Juan Arellano, one of the country’s most significant architects.
3. Having thus outlined the statement of significance of the site, it is the duty of the cultural agencies, consistent with international best practices, to require the preparation of a conservation management plan (CMP) by qualified experts, under its control and supervision, to ensure that the significance of the site is respected and preserved.
4. A CMP should be prepared prior to detailed site, architectural and engineering development planning, and the CMP should in fact guide and provide the parameters of such development planning, just as the preparation of a environmental impact study and securing an environmental compliance certificate guide development planning.
5. The CMP should then be presented to, and evaluated by, stakeholders in a manner similar to that provided under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 10066, (the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009), reflecting the fundamental principles of Sections 4 to 7 of Republic Act No. 7356 (the Charter of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts). Further, any CMP should be defined by public accessibility as provided by Section 40, and provide the parameters of a heritage agreement, as required by Section 18 of Republic Act No. 10066.
6. We reiterate our support for progress and development, and recognize the need for cities to evolve, but in the context of the sustainability of cultural significance through conservation, as provided under Republic Act No. 10066.
This Joint Statement was signed by Mark Richard Evidente, President of Heritage Conservation Society and Dominic Galicia, President of ICOMOS Philippines
Post Script Note: ICOMOS Philippines created a small working group which submitted a World Monuments Watch Nomination for its 2018 cycle. Research findings were shared by Gabriel Caballero at the mASEANa conference in Jakarta that happened in January 2018.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the International Council on Monuments and Sites Philippines held a consultation with experts and advocates of heritage last September 8-9, 2016, at Silid Darangen, NCCA Building, Intramuros, Manila City.
The consultation session was the first of the series of consultations that will happen all over the country in the coming years. The leveling consultations gathered local experts from NCR, Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to work together in redefining Philippine Heritage that is more comprehensible to Filipinos. It was aimed at further understanding of Philippine Heritage sensibilities, priorities, and therefore implementation of a Philippine Heritage Charter. ICOMOS Philippines member Patricia Maria Santiago served as the project director of the initiative.
The said event was participated participated by several ICOMOS Philippines members, which is shown in the photo above: Melva Java, Fernando Zialcita, Augusto Villalon, Dominic Galicia, Tracey Santiago, Kara Garilao, Claudia Montero, Christian Aguilar, Ivan Henares, Tina Paterno, Chen Mencias, Cheek Fadriquela, Markel Luna, Manuel, Singson, Victor Venida, and Richard Daenos.
On 19 August 2015, the world was greeted with the shocking news of the death of Pamana, a Philippine Eagle, Pithecophaga jefferyi, released in the UNESCO World Heritage site of Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, in Davao Oriental, Mindanao, Philippines. Pamana’s murder sparked outrage worldwide.
Ironically, Pamana, after surviving gunshot wounds in 2012 and being rehabilitated to good health by the Philippine Eagle Foundation, was released on 12 June 2015 in Mt. Hamiguitan as part of Philippine Independence Day Celebrations, with Pamana’s release a symbol of the country’s right to fly free again. Pamana’s freedom was short-lived, once again cut short by gunshot wounds.
Pamana is the Filipino word for Heritage. Pamana’s death diminishes us all. As a species found only in the Philippines, Pamana is not only a national treasure of the Philippines, but it is part of the world’s living heritage as well. Thus, if the Philippine Eagle goes extinct, it is not only the Filipino people’s loss but humanity’s loss as well; if it goes extinct, the world will never see a Philippine Eagle fly majestically ever again. Ensuring that Philippine Eagles do not go extinct is a global responsibility.
Pamana’s death is laden with ironies: surviving gunshot wounds and being shot again to death inside a declared Wildlife Sanctuary and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, where we supposed it would live the rest of its natural life in safety and security. We were wrong. Philippine Eagles need more than a physically secure place to live in. Given their precarious state, they need human understanding that they are better off left alone. We should commit to providing conditions that would ensure that they are left alone and unmolested.
ICOMOS Philippines stands in solidarity with the Philippine Eagle Foundation, the Biodiversity Management Bureau of DENR, or the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, and the Filipino people in our fight to ensure the survival of the Philippine Eagle for all humanity’s benefit. We also realize that UNESCO World Heritage Sites, like the Mt. Hamiguitan Range Wildlife Sanctuary, are much more than physical monuments for humanity to enjoy, but are a living heritage that should provide sanctuary to all life found therein. We commit to take positive action that would help ensure that the shooting of Pamana would be the last, and for Philippine Eagles to fly free.
The Tale of Two Facades
The Planned Demolition of our the Historic Dingras Church Facade’
A call to arms and a sound of alarms! Once again, a historic structure in our country is threatened. What makes it even more alarming is that it happens in the same province, Ilocos Norte in almost the same period of time. First the planned demolition of the Laoag Central Elementary School, a perfectly usable, intact and beautiful example of 1920s education architecture in exchange for a mall, and now the proposed demolition of the centuries old façade of the Church of San José de Dingras to be replaced by what would most likely be a poor replica of the former.