MANILA - A mid-20th century axe that was used for woodcarving and hunting in the Ifugao communities in northern Luzon is now back in the hands of the Philippine government.
The Australian government, through Acting First Assistant Secretary Greg Cox of the Office for the Arts, returned the axe to Philippine Ambassador Ma. Hellen De La Vega in a ceremony held on Nov. 19 in Canberra.
The axe was intercepted by the Australian Border Force (ABF) upon entry into Australia from the United States.
The Office for the Arts undertook the investigation and worked with the embassy towards the return of the axe to the Philippines.
The embassy facilitated the restitution of the cultural artefact to the Philippines through the guidance of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and the National Museum of the Philippines as provided by the Philippines’ Heritage Law (Republic Act 10066).
“Cultural heritage is priceless. It is a reflection of the value systems and traditions transmitted from generation to generation. It helps us understand who we were, who we are and who we may become,” said NCCA Chairman Arsenio Lizaso.
De La Vega for her part thanked the Australian government for its efforts and noted that 2021 marks the Year of Filipino Pre-Colonial Ancestors.
She added that both the Philippines and Australia, which celebrate 75 years of diplomatic relations this year, have a rich indigenous heritage that continues to shape and influence our people and our future.