Legarda enjoins Filipinos to become heritage warriors

Senator Loren Legarda asked Filipinos to be “heritage warriors” who will defend and conserve the tangible and intangible heritage handed down to us by our forefathers during a graduation ceremony of the Escuela Taller Intramuros held at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) Building, July 21.

“We are endowed with a rich cultural history–our dances, chants, weaving traditions, textiles, heritage churches and buildings, language. We must strive to protect all of these, our pamana from our ancestors, which we must also pass on to our progeny. I am sure each of us can find an aspect of our culture that we are most interested in. That interest is enough to spark action and hopefully would enjoin every Filipino to become heritage warriors,” Legarda said.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said it was heartbreaking to see centuries-old churches in Bohol and Cebu crumble down to an earthquake in October last year because these structures were not only symbols of faith but also of a rich history but seeing the young graduates of Escuela Taller as they restore deteriorating or damaged built heritage, she felt a “renewed sense of hope that we can still save our precious heritage.”

Senator Loren Legarda hailed the third batch of graduates of Escuela Taller Intramuros as “heritage warriors” in their own rights, saying she hopes that “more Filipinos will also fight for our heritage by reviving and promoting its various aspects”.

The Escuela Taller is a vocational school in Intramuros initiated by the Spanish Government which is aimed to teach skills related to building construction to disadvantaged but talented Filipino youth. Students in this vocational school specialize in areas like masonry, carpentry, metal works, painting, plumbing, and acquire skills in woodcarving and stone carving.

Escuela Taller students have been involved in revival projects for the historic quarter of Intramuros, restoration of colonial churches and bridges, and other related heritage restoration projects.

Legarda said she hopes that more Filipinos will also fight for our heritage by reviving and promoting its various aspects even as she lamented that many other tangible and intangible heritage need to be conserved.

Legarda added that heritage is also a fundamental source of socio-economic empowerment, stressing that it can boost cultural tourism in areas of rich heritage to produce more jobs and generate bigger income for communities and local governments.#