Statement of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines:
On the destruction of Heritage Structures in the
areas affected by typhoon Odette
[20 December 2021]
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) condoles with the loss of life in the areas affected by typhoon Odette. We fully support the national and local government’s priority in saving human life and rendering assistance to families and communities in need. The NHCP, in collaboration with the Catholic Church, local government units, and other stakeholders expresses its commitment to rehabilitate the damaged historic sites and structures, many of them have been part of the life of the people for centuries. Most of these structures have been declared National Historical Landmarks and Important Cultural Properties, which are protected by the Heritage Law. For the time being, we will give way to government agencies conducting relief, rescue operations, and addressing the basic needs of the people. We enjoin our local partners to safeguard the artifacts, retrieve important parts of the structure necessary for the restoration, and provide NHCP with necessary documentations of the destroyed structures and the retrieved parts.
In January 2022, the NHCP commits to send a team that will inspect and document the condition of the cultural properties in order to: (1) establish the severity of damage; (2) draw up priorities for restoration; and (3) estimate the amount of human and financial resources needed. The NHCP shall also coordinate closely with Church officials, national and local government agencies in the restoration and rehabilitation efforts. Once full assessment is done, the NHCP will submit an official report to the Office of the President and request for budget for the restoration of the typhoon affected heritage structures.
Dr. Rene R. Escalante