There is indeed so many things to discuss when it comes to the topic of heritage. The New American Webster handy college dictionary defines this word as “something inherited, a condition, lot, or portion acquired by being born”.
So if you see an old house practically rotting, not maintained, no resident, then that may just be a heritage house whose owner does not have the means to maintain, restore, or preserve what he has gotten from his parents, grandparents, and other relatives.
It is sad that in a country culturally rich as the Philippines, many of our heritage sites are neglected when these can become attractive tourist spots and the income can be used for its maintainance.
Just look at those huge castles in Europe which are being maintained by income from tourists. Gone are the days when the old rich and royalty can keep up with their many servants, have regular balls, and just linger about in their huge gardens.
Gone indeed as times in terms of technology have overcome the taste of a leisurely life. If you are not tech savvy, abreast with the business trends around you, and actively networking, then you may just be left behind and find your income dwindling by the day. Even the price of real estate, always in the upswing, can be unpredictable.
Right now, real estate is booming and many large corporations are into land banking. So what happens is that priceless heritage sites are being transformed into buzzing modernized subdivisions.
So how do you expect the younger generation, the millennials, to appreciate the past and learn from its lessons? For those who want to maintain the ‘good old days’, its ambience at least, then go over the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 or Republic Act No. 10066.
It is “An Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage, Strengthening the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) and its Affiliated Cultural Agencies, and for other purposes.”
Watch out for the latter phrase, “and for other purposes” because that is where we can fall back on to help us preserve many other sites and/or infratructures. This law came into effect inn 2009 only, take note.
And if you want to donate to the preservation of a declared “heritage zone”, your company “shall be exempt from the donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deduction from the gross income in the computation of the income tax of the donor, in accordance with the provisions of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended.”
Now, isn’t this enough incentive for our big corporations to help in the preservation of our cultural heritage? There are forms to be filled up, of course, but once everything is in order, you or your company can now help make the Philippines one of the richest heritage sites in this part of the world. And it is income generating as well. So how about it? Look around and report to the National Historical Commission any heritage sites around you, and help preserve this rich aspect of our beloved Philippines.