How much is PH spending to preserve historic buildings?
MANILA - How much is the Philippine government spending annually for the preservation of historic structures in the country?
According to Atty. Trixie Angeles, legal consultant of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts, the NCCA has a conservation budget of P20 million to P30 million annually for "immovables" or historic buildings in the country.
Angeles said the NCCA has received seed money as national endowment fund from the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation, which has ballooned to P1 billion "but we can only use the interest plus a certain portion of travel tax."
"This is our limitation. We don't have PDAF (priority development assistance funds). Masakit makita ang mga gusali. Nakakaiyak," she told radio dzMM.
She said the NCCA had previously identified 20 churches all over the country for partial retrofitting.
"We have identified 20 churches not including wooden buildings, houses and world heritage sites," she said.
The NCCA, National Historical Commission for the Philippines (NCHP) and National Museum on Tuesday formed a Heritage Task Force for the rescue and rehabilitation of old churches destroyed by a strong earthquake in Visayas.
A joint team of experts will visit Bohol and Cebu provinces on Thursday to inspect and evaluate the damage.
The NCCA said majority of the structures damaged by the earthquake have been declared National Cultural Treasures, National Historical Landmarks and Important Cultural Properties.
Among those badly damaged include the three of the oldest in the country – Baclayon and Loboc churches in Bohol and Sto. Niño Basilica in Cebu City.
Angeles said Budget Secretary Butch Abad has already contacted the NCCA chairperson to make a list of financial needs for the restoration, repair and rehabilitation of the damaged buildings.
"We will do assessment on Thursday and submit to Malacañang," she said.