BAGUIO CITY May 05 – The city council summoned officials of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) as well as other officials of culture agencies to appear before the local legislative body on May 18, 2015 and shed light on the uncoordinated declaration of various sites in the city as heritage sites and reminded them to closely coordinate with the city government prior to the declaration of heritage sites or historic landmarks in the city.
In a proposed resolution, vice Mayor Edison R. Bilog and councilor Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. cited the need for concerned national agencies and local governments to closely work together in the identification and subsequent declaration of heritage sites to prevent overlapping and confusion among the public in relation to existing and future heritage sites and historic landmarks.
Earlier, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan requested the city council to pass a resolution requesting the NCCA, NHCP and other culture agencies responsible in the identification and declaration of heritage sites to first coordinate with the city government and strictly adhere to the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10066 or the law that protects heritage sites and historic landmarks prior to the declaration of sites in the city as heritage areas and historic landmarks.
The resolution stemmed from the controversy whether or not the city hall grounds where a facelift project is being implemented is part of the city hall building that was earlier declared as a heritage building in February 2009 under the coverage of the old heritage law.
In order to shed light on the appropriate procedures to be observed in working out the declaration of a place or building as a heritage site, the council stated the need for the concerned officials of the culture agencies in order to have a dialogue to prevent further confusions in the declaration of future areas in the city as historic landmarks.
However, councilor Peter Fianza said the NCCA and NHCP officials must also educate city officials on what is meant by the marking of places or structures with historic markers and the declaration of the same as heritage sites or historic landmarks.
Fianza explained the mere placement of historic markers in places and structures only means that the NHCP recognizes the importance of such places or structure as an important cultural heritage while the declaration of heritage sites or historic landmarks involves the existence of resolutions from the owner of the property and the confirmation of the NCHP.
Fianza revealed as per verification from the Philippine Registry of Cultural Properties (PRECUP), there are no heritage sites or historic landmarks in the city which are included in the said directory that confirms the belief of some city officials that marked heritage sites were not actually officially declared as heritage sites.
Under Section 8 of RA 10066, heritage sites or historic landmarks that were declared as such under the old law must be confirmed under the new law through a petition from the owner of the property and the subsequent c conduct of public consultations by the concerned agencies prior to the official declaration as heritage sites or historic landmarks. Fianza explained there is a need to revisit the proposed resolution in order that it would encompass everything that the city government wants to be clarified so that concerned government agencies will have an easier time of addressing the city’s concerns. By Dexter A. See