PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law strengthening the National Museum of the Philippines in a bid to "pursue and support the cultural development of the Filipino people."
Republic Act (RA) 11333 or the National Museum of the Philippines Act delegates the National Museum as the country's primary institution for the "management and development of museums and collections of national scope or significance in the areas of arts, cultural heritage, and natural history."
Strengthening the National Museum, renamed as the National Museum of the Philippines, is aimed at "protecting, preserving, studying and promoting the national patrimony for the benefit of current and future generations."
"It shall be a permanent institution in the service of the entire national community and its development, accessible to the public and not intended for profit," the law, signed by Duterte on April 17, states.
Under RA 11333, the National Museum serves as an "education, cultural and scientific institution" that preserves and exhibits scholarly study and public appreciation of works of art, specimens, and artifacts that represent Filipinos' artistic and cultural heritage and natural history.
It is also tasked to establish, manage, and develop the National Museum Complex at the Rizal Park in Manila, as well as the central museums, regional museums, and other facilities.
It is likewise directed to manage and develop national collections of the Philippine arts, cultural heritage and natural history.
The National Museum is also required to carry out permanent research programs combining integrated laboratory and field work in biodiversity, geological history, human origins, pre-historical and historical archaeology, maritime and underwater cultural heritage, ethnology, art history, immovable, movable and intangible cultural properties, and other associated fields.
The law also mandates the National Museum to disseminate technical and museological skills, and extend technical assistance in the preservation and restoration of cultural properties of national significance.
"The National Museum shall be headed by a director-general, who shall serve as the head of agency with the rank and emoluments of undersecretary," RA 11333 read.
"To ensure its independence and autonomy, the National Museum shall be uniquely considered as a trust of the government, attached solely for budgetary coordination and related purposes to the Department of Education," it added.
The law grants free admission of public to all public museums and national historical shrines and landmarks, subject to capacity and availability as determined by the National Museum or the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
The National Museum is authorized to retain the entirety of its income from all sources of its operations nationwide and overseas.
Donations of money covered by legally-executed deeds of donation will be placed in a dedicated National museum Funds.
The Palace released a copy of the new law just on Tuesday, July 16. (SunStar Philippines)