Republic Act 10066

An Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage, Strengthening the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and its Affiliated Cultural Agencies, and for Other Purposes — signed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 26, 2010

[See Heritage Bulletin]

How Republic Act 10066 came to be

The drafting of the Omnibus Cultural Heritage Law, otherwise known as the “PHILIPPINE CULTURAL HERITAGE ACT” aimed to provide for the protection, preservation, and promotion of the nation’s cultural heritage.  This began as an interface program within the Subcommission for Cultural Heritage (SCH) of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in 1994.   This was initiated by the then Commissioner for SCH, Felice Prudente Sta. Maria and former Executive Director Carmen D. Padilla as an advocacy mandate of the NCCA.  

The bill was further deliberated on by the NCCA members through its National Committees [representing both the public and private sectors], and the affiliate government [cultural] agencies, like the National Museum, Cultural Center of the Philippines, National Historical Institute [now the National Historical Commission], Records Management and Archives Office [now the National Archives of the Philippines], the National Library, the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino and the Intramuros Administration for the Department of Tourism.

Several meetings were conducted by the NCCA Secretariat as well as continued updating and briefings were done together with the Technical Working Groups (TWG) from the Committees on Culture and Education in both the House of Representatives and the Senate and the Staffs of the legislative authors. 

Finally, on March 26, 2010, the President signed into law RA No. 10066 with the support of PA on Culture Cecile Guidote-Alvarez and encouragement from NCCA Chairperson Vilma L. Labrador.

Senate and House of Representative’s Support

House Bill No. 6733:  National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009

An Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage, Strengthening the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and its Affiliated Cultural Agencies, and for Other PurposesPrincipally Authored by Cong. Juan Edgardo M. Angara and Cong. Maria Isabelle Climaco, and introduced by Congressmen Del de Guzman, Exequiel B. Javier, and George P. Arnaiz

Senate Bill No. 3014: National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009

An Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage, Strengthening the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), and its Affiliated Cultural Agencies, and for Other PurposesPrincipally Authored by Sen. Edgardo J. Angara, and introduced by Sens. Mar A. Roxas, Ramon A. Revilla Jr., Jinggoy P. Ejercito-Estrada, Loren B. Legarda, Manny Villar, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV, and Juan Miguel F.  Zubiri.

The First Omnibus Philippine Cultural Heritage Law considers existing laws pertaining to culture and cultural properties, international conventions, heritage laws of different countries, and most importantly our local needs.

The final version signed by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo per RA No. 1066 last March 2010 was the product of almost eight working versions since 1994.   It is an intensive output that consolidates all the pending bills in both the Senate and the House of Representative relative to the protection and preservation efforts on Philippine culture and the arts making RA No. 10066 an “omnibus cultural heritage law”.   The said RA synergizes all efforts that would strengthen the mandates of the NCCA and the attached cultural agencies with respect to the conservation and preservation of our cultural and natural heritage.

RA 10066 was carefully studied and discussed by various experts in the field and crafted by the different members with the TWG of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts, and Culture from the time of Sens. Leticia Ramos-Shahani, Juan Flavier, Francis Pangilinan, Edgardo J. Angara, Allan Peter Cayetano and Mar A. Roxas.  

Similarly, the same working versions of the NCCA’s bill on heritage were endorsed and referred to the counterpart committee in the House of Representatives.   Thus, from the time of Congressmen Salvador Escudero III, Jose Carlos V. Lacson, Edmund Reyes and Del de Guzman, the same NCCA working bill has been their basis in filling it in the Congress.   

Only on this Fourteenth Congress, that with the strong advocacy of the NCCA and its attached Cultural Agencies, we finally saw the light of the law after its long birthing.   Our appreciation goes to its principal sponsors, Senators Angara and Roxas, and Congressmen Angara, Climaco and De Guzman as well as the other Honorable Senators and Congressmen who co-authored the law for their keen and passion for the preservation of our heritage, thus, pushing and prioritizing the enactment of the said bill.

NCCA Technical Working Group (TWG)

The NCCA’s Subcommission on Cultural Heritage(SCH): has always been on top of this major advocacy program, particularly from the members of the National Commission on:

  • Archives;
  • Art Galleries;
  • Historical Research;
  • Libraries and Information Services;
  • Monuments and Sites; and,
  • Museums.

The other NCCA Subcommissions and its National Committees (Arts, Cultural Dissemination, Cultural Communities and Traditional Arts).

Attached Cultural Agencies / other concerned government agencies:

NCCA Consultants were,

  • Dr. Jesus T. Peralta; and,
  • Prof. Esperanza B. Gatbonton.

From the private sector, the Heritage Conservation Society actively participated in the crafting of the bill, specifically, Ms. Gemma Cruz-Araneta; Ms. Bambi Harper; and, Mr. Ivan Henares; And, the other Members from the NCCA National Committee on Monuments and Sites, such as the ICOMOS Philippines.

NCCA Legal Counsels included (Atty. Rose Beatrix “Trixie” Angeles and Atty. F.D. Nicolas “Nick” B. Pichay).

Other Partners involved / consulted were the following:

  • Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime (OSETC)
  • Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR)
  • United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization-National Commission of the Philippines (UNACOM)
  • Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)
  • Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG)
  • National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP)
  • Office of Muslim Affairs
  • Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board
  • Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao
  • Department of Foreign Affairs
  • Commission on Filipino Overseas

Among the major features of the law are as follows:

NOTE:   Generally, the Agency or the “Commission” as referred in the bill pertains to the NCCA and its attached cultural agencies.  For purposes of streamlining this law and for clarity, that all the attached cultural agencies be deemed to be acting through the Commission.  That way, other entities, may they be private persons or other government agencies, shall be dealing with the higher body i.e., the NCCA Board of Commissioners [composed of the Cultural Agencies].  Internally, the Commission shall still delegate to the appropriate agency concerned specific tasks and thrust pertaining to their respective mandates. 

The bill defines the sharing of responsibilities among the concerned government agencies and the private sector, maximizing the NCCA network of interfaced public and private support for protection of the national heritage.  [Article VIII, Sections 31 & 32]

  • Law Enforcement

During the TWG meetings, especially the Senate authors and co-authors of the bills expressed their unanimous concern on having “stiffer and heavier penalties” for those who desecrate the country’s cultural heritage.   Thus, there is a need to strengthen the police power of the Commission and the Cultural Agencies in deputizing local and national law enforcement agencies.    Aside from the Penal Provisions on Article XIII, there is Article VII on “Deputizing the police, military, NBI, coast guard and the like,” on “Cease and Desist Order” and “Visitorial Power” respectively, which provides the Commission [NCCA] through the Cultural Agencies the authority to enforce cease and desist order at any needed time.  

  • Registration and Conservation of Cultural Property and National Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage

Article V, Defines the registration and conservation of cultural property, and Section 19, Inventory of Intangible Cultural Heritage was introduced for the collaborative efforts of the Commission and the UNACOM in handling the concerns of intangible heritage in accordance with the UNESCO directives.    


Other Highlights:

  • A redefinition of cultural properties to encompass tangible and intangible properties; [Article III]
  • Maximizing the NCCA network of interfaced public and private support for protection of the national heritage;
  • Designation of Heritage Zones to enhance sense of place; and to protect both cultural properties and histories; [Article IV]
  • The use of sustained cultural education — through the national formal and non-formal schooling, as well as the informal programs run by local governments — in order to generate people support for conservation; [Article X]
  • Sustaining local culture studies in formal, non-formal, and informal education; [Article X]

Note that private ownership of cultural properties – even National Treasures – is respected, and that the government continues to use as many of its agencies, their budgets and personnel, to conserve properties.

Download pdf file of Republic Act No. 10066

Download Implementing Rules and Guidelines of RA No. 10066

Download schedule of fees to be collected


See [Heritage Bulletin]