by Camelia Nardo and Madel Catre
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines in cooperation with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts conducted its first Regional assembly of local historical societies and heritage conservation group for Mindanao last October 20, 2012 at the Hotel Vicente in F. Torres, Davao City.
NHCP chairperson and UP Diliman professor Ma. Serena Diokno stressed their primary goal in the gathering – an action plan for Mindanao history’s conservation and preservation. Along with this were the establishment of a network of communication between local heritage and historical groups and the identification of their concerns, needs and issues in which the course of the action plan is grounded in.
“Even if it is just tentative, we want to formulate plans from and for Mindanao through this Regional assembly,” she said in her talk in front of invited guests that comprised history intellectuals- museum owners, history university professors, local heritage group leaders, architects, LGU representatives, etc. Everyone in the gathering was eager to contribute something vital in Mindanao’s action plan in preparation for the national assembly in March next year.
Dr.Diokno said, “We’ve already conducted the assembly for Visayas and Luzon and also got their action plans earlier this year. All plans are for the national action plan that requires approval during the national assembly next year.”
Discussions and the open forums revealed enumerated problems that the speaker described as “monstrosities”: neglect in some parts of the country, the history as an unmarketable view, historic site threats and limited heritage laws.
The poor maintenance of the NHCP markers, Local priests’ initiatives, general lack of public awareness and absence of heritage component in town or city planning further extended these.
Though these problems were presented and recognized, it was unanimously agreed upon that the general lack of interest in history is one of the things that pave way to these “monstrosities”.
Nevertheless, the agency moves forward in their advocacies with enthusiasm and determination, expressing their excitement towards the plans on building two museums in Mindanao. The NHCP chairperson also expressed her anticipation over the next two years’ events of Bonifacio and Mabini’s 150th birth anniversaries. She even hinted that maybe, at the president’s last term, he will celebrate Independence Day in Mindanao.
NHCP is a government agency rooted from Republic Act 10086 also known as Philippine History Act. They are in-charge of maintenance, restoration, conservation, management and promotion of Philippine History.
Among 431 NHCP marked sites, 345 are from Luzon, 74 are from Visayas and only 12 are from Mindanao.
It currently covers 22 shrines in the entire archipelago.