'Reclaim the space:' Historian Ocampo seeks protection of history, artifacts

Christina Quiambao, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 19 2022 05:58 PM

Historian Ambeth Ocampo
Historian Ambeth Ocampo talks about the importance of history and artifacts. Photo by Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News.

MANILA - Filipino historian Ambeth Ocampo on Thursday sought for the protection of Philippine history and historians, who are constantly attacked by trolls or people spreading false information. 

“We should reclaim the space...promote education, promote understanding rather than promoting disinformation and disunity,” he said during a panel discussion on armed conflict in urban areas. 

He said protecting historical institutions and records, whether during armed conflict or online disinformation, can help preserve our national culture, memory, and identity. 
 
“It’s more than a loss of life but of who we are, where we are, and where we want to go," Ocampo explained.

PRESERVATION OF WAR ITEMS

Ocampo, along with other panelists during the ‘War in Cities’ exhibit, also highlighted the importance of preserving items found in cities that faced war and conflict. 

“What is left out of the war crimes documentation, however, are our cultural losses,” said Ocampo. 

Some items included in the exhibit were a child's desk riddled with bullet holes, a doll with a half-burnt face and a visual aid from school coated in dust. 

Ocampo said that the impact of war on cultural losses is “rarely talked about,” calling for the continued protection of museums, libraries and archives located in capital cities. 
 
“War and conflict spare no one. Loss of life is a loss for family and friends. Loss of cultural property is a loss for memory and identity,” he added. 

The exhibit mounted by International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in partnership with the Embassy of Switzerland to the Philippines and the Intramuros Administration at Fort Santiago, Intramuros, show artifacts taken from conflict areas in Iraq and the Philippines, specifically on the Zamboanga City crisis in 2013 and Marawi Siege in 2017. 

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