RP landmarks listed as 'endangered monuments'

MANILA – Three Philippine landmarks are now on the global watchlist of “endangered world monuments” released by the World Monuments Fund (WMF).

nuestra_churchIncluded in the list are the Rice Terraces in Ifugao, the Nuestra Señora de La Asuncion Church in the Ilocos region, and the San Sebastian Basilica in Manila.

The WMF’s list, released every 2 years, aims to raise awareness and clinch global support for the protection and preservation of heritage sites around the world.

According to the WMF website, the Rice Terraces in the Cordilleras were placed on various heritage watchlists because of “physical deterioration and loss of the site’s cultural underpinnings.”

It was previously put on the WMF list in 2000 and on the World Heritage list in 1995 and 2001.

“The terraces continue to face decreasing use and are now threatened by wide-scale abandonment…[by local people who leave the region in search for employment opportunities. [It] has lost its primary function for agricultural productivity,” the website states.

The Ifugao Rice Terraces date back to the 16th Century when Igorot tribes depended largely on rice agriculture. It is one of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites.

The Nuestra Señora de La Asuncion (Our Lady of the Assumption) Church in Santa Maria municipality, meanwhile, is listed for “serious structural damage to [its] retaining walls, leading to partial collapse.”

Construction of the Augustinian church began in 1765, during the Spanish colonial era.

The Gothic San Sebastian Church, which is described as having a unique steel construction, was also cited for disrepair.

san_sebastian“Persistent corrosion, leaks, and material loss threaten the Basilica, but its most pervasive threat remains invisible: the structural bracing within the cavity walls is severely deteriorating, potentially rendering the stability and continued functionality of San Sebastian precarious,” the WMF website states.

Landmarks are placed on the watchlist after being nominated by private individuals, government agencies, or non-government organizations.

The lists are reviewed by WMF staff and a panel of experts who rate a site’s relevance, significance, and the urgency of its need for preservation.

The Watchlist program enables watchlisted sites to receive WMF grants and assistance. According to the WMF, 544 sites have been included in the lists – half of which have received a total of $50 million in grants.

(See a complete list of 2010 Endangered Monuments here)

Other Philippine landmarks that had been included in the list are the Kabayan Mummy Caves, placed on the watchlist in 1998, and the Angono Petroglyphs in 1996. abs-cbnNEWS.com. Photos from the World Monuments Fund.

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