P675 million needed for Luzon quake restoration projects, says NCCA

Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 28 2022 06:17 PM

Caretakers check the damage at the Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church or Tayum Church in Abra on July 28, 2022, a day after a powerful earthquake jolted the province and many parts of Luzon. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News
Caretakers check the damage at the Santa Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church or Tayum Church in Abra on July 28, 2022, a day after a powerful earthquake jolted the province and many parts of Luzon. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News


MANILA — The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on Wednesday said it needs P675 million to implement restoration projects for cultural properties damaged by the powerful earthquake that rattled Luzon in July.

Speaking during the budget deliberations of the Senate Finance sub-committee, NCCA Chairperson Rene Escalante said 24 heritage structures in Abra, Ilocos Sur and Ilocos Norte will have to undergo restoration procedures.

Escalante noted that broken down into a 2-year period, P405 million for 2023 and P270 million for 2024 will be needed.

He added that after the assessment report was finalized, the NCCA wrote government agencies for possible sources of funds.

These agencies include the Office of the President, Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR), Tourism Infrastructure And Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC).

“I got the response form the Office of the President, it was referred to the NDRRMC, TIEZA is also keen on extending a certain amount, I haven’t received any response from Pagcor, so it’s really up to the Senate leadership to respond,” Escalante said.

“Pero gusto ko kasi iyong nadi-disclose kasi 'pag nabasa ko na humingi kayo ng pera don tas hihinihingi niyo dito nakakainis talaga yon so I really appreciate that you disclose so that it's easier also for us to work with DBM kung saan manggagaling ang pera,” said Sen. Pia Cayetano, who led the sub-committee's hearings.

(But I appreciate that you disclosed that because it's irritating for me to read that you asked money there and then sought funding again here. It's easier also for us to work with DBM on where the money will come from.) 

Cayetano asked Escalante if the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) would also be involved in the restoration process.

“This is a special restoration and normally our arrangement with DPWH for new constructions sa kanila po iyon, but for all structures particularly the ones in Vigan, which is a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage site, this is under our mandate,” Escalante said.

(Normally, our arrangement with the DPWH is that new constructions will be under them.) 

The 7-magnitude earthquake that struck Abra province on July 27 was felt hundreds of kilometers away in Metro Manila, damaged thousands of homes, and left at least 10 dead. 

Meanwhile, Sen. Robin Padilla said he was “bothered” by the hair color of an NCCA program host.

“Para sa akin mali, kasi dapat nire-represent niya ang Pinoy, una may kulay ang buhok mo, baka ang intindi ng mga Pilipino sige mag-kulay tayo lahat ng buhok... Ba't ba tayo nandito lahat, to promote, promote natin kung sino tayo," Padilla said during the budget deliberations. 

(For me, it's wrong because he should represent being Pinoy. First, your hair is dyed, perhaps Filipinos would think, okay, let's all dye our hair. We are all here to promote who we are.) 

“Makakarating po (it will be relayed) and we will act on that, salamat po sa feedback and we appreciate,” Escalante replied.

Budget deliberations were also held for other agencies such as the National Library, the National Museum, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino.

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