Friday, November 09, 2007

Manifesto for Heritage Conservation in Philippine Towns and Cities

Straight from Boracay, I proceeded to the Sarabia Manor Hotel to check-in and wait for the vehicles from City Hall to pass by for me. We were off to the airport to meet the other members of the Heritage Conservation Society who arrived yesterday. And we went there in style, breezing through Iloilo's rush hour traffic with four motorcycle escorts. Hehe!

As soon as they arrived (their flight was two hours delayed), we went straight to Robinsons for the Opening Cocktails of the 2nd Philippine Towns and Cities Seminar hosted by Mayor Jerry Trenas. The night wasn't over since after that, I went to Smallville to meet up with the Ateneo alumni in Iloilo and my SSEAYP batchmate Councilor Winwin Sanchez.

Today, we had the seminar at the Sarabia Manor Hotel. I was emcee for the day. Here is the manifesto we drafted at the end of the seminar. We hope each LGU would adopt this as a provincial, city or municipal resolution:

Manifesto for Heritage Conservation
in Philippine Towns and Cities

The 1987 Constitution (Sections 14, 15, and 16, Article XIV) declares that the State shall foster the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of a Filipino culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression. It shaIl conserve, promote and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations. Further, all the country's artistic and historic wealth constitutes the cultural treasure of the nation and shall be under the protection of the State, which may regulate its disposition.

In the pursuit of heritage conservation as a strategy for maintaining Filipino identity, we, the participants of the 2nd Towns and Cities Seminar in Iloilo City assembled shall pursue the following objectives:

1) Protect, preserve, conserve and promote the nation's built heritage resources in our localities;
2) Establish and strengthen national and local cultural institutions;
3) Vigilantly implement national and local laws on the protection of heritage;
4) Integrate heritage conservation of built heritage and cultural sites and landscapes in all the master development plans and zoning ordinances;
5) Implement safeguards to protect local heritage by creating heritage zones and declaring heritage sites at the provincial, city, municipal and barangay levels through local ordinances and resolutions;
6) Increase heritage awareness among the youth by including preservation of heritage and local history and culture in the curriculum;
7) Maintain the appearance of streets, parks, monuments, buildings, natural bodies of water, canals, paths and barangays within heritage zones;
8) Promote the adaptive re-use of built heritage property to generate economic activity that will ensure sustainability;
9) Document and sustain all socio-cultural practices such as traditional celebrations, historical events, and the revival of customs that are unique to our localities; and
10) Expand the concept of heritage to include knowledge and collective memory, situating the study of heritage within a broad time frame connecting the distant past to the present, and a vision of the future.

2nd Seminar on Philippine Towns and Cities
Iloilo City, 9 November 2007
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