MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has signed a law that mandates the conservation of Gabaldon school buildings nationwide.
Duterte signed on Jan. 18 Republic Act 11194, which seeks to preserve the architectural, historical and social significance of Gabaldon school buildings, heritage school houses built in the Philippines from 1907 to 1946.
The school buildings were those designed by American architect William Parsons and funded through Act. No. 1801, authored by Isauro Gabaldon.
Under the law, all Gabaldon school buildings shall be recognized as built heritage and, therefore, be included as part of cultural properties under the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.
The law states that the Department of Education, in coordination with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, National Historical Commission of the Philippines, and National Museum, shall implement a program for the identification and conservation of all Gabaldon school buildings nationwide.
An inventory of all Gabaldon school buildings, whether fully functional or condemned, shall be jointly undertaken by the DepEd and the NCCA.
Local government units that have Gabaldon school buildings under their jurisdiction shall likewise adopt measures for the protection and conservation of these structures and shall aid DepEd in conservation efforts.
Sen. Loren Legarda, the bill’s author, said there are about 1,446 Gabaldon heritage school buildings all over the Philippines.
“These structures symbolize the first foundation of the Philippine public school system during the American period, in which each Filipino child, even from the most remote areas of the country, had access to formal education,” Legarda said in the explanatory note of her then proposed measure.