Jul 23, 2020

News about the demolition of heritage sites like Escolta’s Capitol Theater and Binondo’s Hospicio de San Jose building have saddened us this year—and we fear it won’t end there either.

National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Deputy Executive Director for Programs and Projects Alvin Alcid revealed on July 22 that the restoration fund for the country’s heritage sites was cut from the 2021 national budget. 

This budget cut was made in order to allocate more funds for the government’s COVID-19 response. According to Alcid, the removed appropriations for the agency’s purchase of goods and services amount to P300 million.

Prior to this, funds amounting to approximately P100 million for NHCP was previously realigned for COVID-19 response.

capitol theater
It’s officially goodbye to Escolta’s Capitol Theater. Photo by Pancho Karambola

“We wrote to the Department of Budget and Management for an appeal para ibalik ’yung budget para sa capital outlay, specifically for restoration of heritage structures,” the NHCP deputy executive director told the Senate Committee on Basic Education, Arts and Culture on July 22.

Should the appeal fail to change DBM’s decision,  Alcid said that NHCP will reach out to local government units for help. In the meantime, they will resort to “delaying” the deterioration of heritage sites instead.

According to the National Budget Memorandum No. 136 issued on May 21, DBM proposed a P4.335 trillion budget for 2021.


Header photo by Niño Jesus Orbeta for Inquirer.net

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TAGS: heritage heritage sites heritage sites budget cut National Historical Commission of the Philippines NHCP nhcp budget cut