Intramuros, Manila – The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the primary government arm dedicated to the preservation of Filipino culture and heritage, together with its six affiliate agencies namely the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF), National Archives of the Philippines (NAP), National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), National Library of the Philippines (NLP) , and the National Museum of the Philippines (NM), laments the loss of life and damage to cultural properties caused by the earthquakes that occurred last 27 July 2019.
Batanes is a declared cultural heritage and ecotourism zone by Republic Act No. 10866 or the Batanes Responsible Tourism Act passed in 2016. The preservation of the structures and the safeguarding of the traditions and customs of its people are primary in our list of concerns with the aftermath of the earthquake. On this note, NCCA and its affiliate agencies recognize the importance of these cultural properties to the Ivatans and the whole fabric of Filipino culture. While we lament the damages caused by the quake, we believe that the Ivatans are resilient as a people and this calamity is but a challenge that we as a nation are bound to overcome.
We at the NCCA remain committed to conserving and safeguarding our cultural heritage. From here, we wish to extend our assistance in ensuring that the preservation and restoration efforts that will be undertaken by various agencies and government units in Itbayat are done in accordance to the National Heritage Law (RA 10066). The NCCA together with the NM and the NHCP will conduct a rapid assessment in accordance with preservation and restoration standards as soon as proper coordination with the local government unit and the Ivatan community is conducted and their readiness to address cultural heritage concerns are ensured. Rest assured we will work closely with pertinent agencies in these efforts as well as in other intervention activities that will benefit the Ivatan communities affected by this calamity.
We believe in the resiliency of the Filipino spirit and uphold the values of marangal, malikhain and mapagbago as we rise up together for the people of Itbayat and for our culture and heritage.