THE National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) is urging Negrenses to initiate efforts in implementing laws that will protect the cultural heritage of the province.

NCCA legal counsel Trixie Angeles, who led the lecture-consultation on the Philippine Heritage Law at the Negros Museum in Bacolod City yesterday, said they continue to convince the locals to begin their own initiatives.

The can call on their respective local governments to comply with its obligations under the law, she added.

Republic Act 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 provides deadlines for certain obligations including the conduct of registries and cultural mapping, Angeles said.

“So while we have not called to task any of the non-compliant local government units, we disseminate information so that everybody can initiate the protective measures,” she added.

The forum, attended by about 20 participants representing various sectors, is part of the NCCA’s mandate to disseminate information on cultural heritage and its protection law.

Major concerns raised during the lecture-consultation include the lack of awareness among Negrenses, especially the government, on the enforcement of the heritage protection law.

“Everything starts with awareness,” Angeles said, adding that awareness is very important as destruction of cultural property for instance can be stopped whether temporarily or permanently if people are aware of the law.

The NCCA official further said that Negros Occidental is still very rich in terms of heritage.

“It still has a lot of tangible cultural heritage which could be prime spots for documentation as well as further research on cultural heritage thus, the community should help in its protection,” she added.