Philippines strengthens protection of historical and cultural heritage through legislation

New legislation signed by the Philippine president gives new powers to the National Historical Council of the Philippines to oversee all matters relating to Philippine history.

New law strengthens agency’s efforts to preserve historical, cultural heritage
Business World, 30 May 2010

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has signed into law a measure aimed at strengthening an agency tasked to preserve the country’s historical and cultural heritage.

Mrs. Arroyo has enacted on May 12 Republic Act (RA) 10086 entitled “Strengthening People’s Nationalism Through Philippine History Act.”

The new law renamed the National Historical Institute (NHI) to National Historical Council of the Philippines (NHCP) and vested it with the sole authority to determine all factual matters relating to the country’s official history.

NHI’s current mandate is limited to the implementation of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines or RA 8491, conservation of historical sites and administration of research and other educational activities.

The NHCP under the new law is empowered to conduct and support all kinds of research relating to national and local history, develop educational and promotional materials, prescribe the right way of conserving historical sites and objects, and actively involve itself in the settlement of controversies related to historical personages, places, dates and events.

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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