Of Landmarks and Historical Sites-A A +A
By Art Tibaldo
Monday, August 19, 2013
LANDMARKS and historical sites are relics of the past that stands today reminding us of a period in time when people marked their calendars in stones, wrote their stories with blood and went about their daily lives without the amenities of the modern world.
Thus, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the government arm in the culture and development agenda of the country envisions a Filipino society with citizens informed of their history, who love their country and are proud of their cultural heritage.
The NHCP recognizes that historic sites and structures possess cultural value and we know for a fact that places such as the Fort Santiago, Vigan, Rizal Shrine, Intramuros, Malacañan Palace, Corregidor and even the EDSA Shrine that marks the 1986 people’s uprising and revolt against a dictator are now among the landmarks that are recognized for its historic value.
For this reason the NHCP according to its mandate shall collaborate with the National Museum and other cultural agencies in recognizing sites and structures with historical and artistic, scientific, or cultural value. Such collaboration may take the form of joint declarations of important sites and structures and joint installation of markers in these sites. Its mission is the promotion of Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management and heraldry works. It aims to inculcate awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, to instill pride in the Filipino race and to rekindle the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history.
Also, the NHCP is mandated to undertake research and publication of Philippine historical works, educational activities on historical events and personages, restoration, preservation and conservation of movable and immovable objects of historical value and implementation of the National Historic Act of the Philippines, administration of historic sites, structures and memorabilia of national heroes, and blazoning of government symbols and implementation of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines.
According to NHCP’s guidelines on the identification, classification, and recognition of historic sites and structures in the Philippines, it is the responsibility of the state to deepen understanding of, promote, and popularize our country’s history, both national and local, and safeguard our historical treasures in order to strengthen our people’s nationalism, love of country, respect for our heroes, and pride in our people’s achievements. Toward this end, the NHCP shall recognize, support, protect and conserve sites and structures of demonstrated historical significance.
In keeping with said mandate, the NHCP shall focus on the historical significance of the site or structure being considered for inclusion in or delisting from the National Registry of Historic Sites and Structures in the Philippines. These historical sites shall be determined and recognized in terms of whether the person, event, site or structure led to or resulted in profound changes in the lives of the community, the country, or a considerable segment of our population.
But, before the NHCP will fully support an identified historical site to the greatest extent possible, the Commission shall first comply with international principles and standards of conservation and involve concerned government units or private parties and vigorously encourage public participation. The criteria for identifying historic sites and structures includes among others properties strongly associated with important historical events, heroes and illustrious Filipinos whose distinctive historic contribution endures, sites of first establishments in the Philippines like the first printing press, theater, school, transport system and even a graveyard.
To qualify for consideration, a site or structure being proposed for NHCP recognition must possess demonstrable historical significance, be at least fifty (50) years old and seventy (70) percent authentic. Historic sites and structures are classified according to levels of recognition conferred by the NHCP as Level I which is the declaration of a historic site or structure and installation of a marker and Level II which is the installation of a historical marker.
On September 1, we will once again celebrate the foundation of Baguio as a chartered city and it is hoped that places such as the Dominican Hotel in Mirador Hill, Baguio Cathedral, Teachers’ Camp, the Presidential Mansion and parts of Camp John Hay will be included by the NHCP as a Historical Site. With this development, we also pray that the old Post Office of Baguio will be considered by the Commission and the Philippine Postal Corporation as such and I urge residents who may have kept old letters, postcards, envelopes and stamps marked by the postal office here to share their documents and historical accounts to this writer or to the city council’s Committee on Education and Historical Research.
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on August 20, 2013.