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09.25.2014

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), as the primary agency concerned with the formulation of policy on arts and culture, calls the attention of concerned agencies and the general public on the management of the country’s public spaces. Such spaces are communally owned and shared. Constructions that obstruct their usage and public nature violate the purposes for which these spaces are created.

Such spaces reduce urban stress created by excessive concrete structures. Yet the notion that these spaces must be developed by adding constructions inconsistent with their open nature persists.

More importantly, most of these spaces are heritage sites whose designs are also lessons in period architecture and are created to remind us of notable persons or events. Interventions on the original designs confuse the public on the purpose of the site and subvert historical intent.

We thus call on the appropriate agencies to prevent such interventions or allow only those that are consistent with the purposes of these sites. Maintaining originality of design and function allows the public free access to their own public spaces and appreciation of their heritage.

In particular, we call on those involved in infrastructure or development to consult and coordinate any and all plans affecting cultural heritage with the NCCA or the relevant Cultural Agencies, and to do so with dispatch as heritage is a non-renewable resource, irreplaceable and irretrievable once destroyed. In particular we call on the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in all its infrastructure projects and other special agencies such as the National Parks Development Committee (NPDC) in its management and design of culturally significant public spaces and which are under the jurisdiction of the Local Government Units (LGUs).

Pursuant to this, the NCCA shall exercise its obligations under its mandate and fully enforce the constitutional and imperative to protect these spaces and heritage, even against other government agencies.

Signed

FELIPE M. DE LEON, JR.
Chairman

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For more information, contact the NCCA Public Affairs and Information Office (PAIO) head, Rene Sanchez Napenas at (632) 527-2192 or 0928-5081057; or email us at ncca.paio@gmail.com.