Press Release
July 15, 2006


Noting that indiscriminate diggings and underwater explorations are causing damage to our cultural heritage, Senator Edgardo J. Angara today pushed for the authoritative rule of the National Museum to issue permits or licenses before one can undergo exploration or excavation in Philippine waters.

Angara said that experts have calculated the destruction of priceless underwater artifacts like shells, corals and other precious stones and metals which are hidden in soil. These, in turn, have exposed some of our countrys cultural and historical sites to desecration.

Angara explained that underwater destruction in the country is caused primarily by dynamite and cyanide fishing and that the destruction of underwater treasures is just a portion of decaying environment around the world.

The Underwater Cultural Heritage Act of 2006 seeks to stress sections of the constitution that focus on the States duty to preserve, conserve, enrich and protect the nations historical and cultural heritage, including marine coasts and resources.

Angara also said that the National Museum, headed by its Director, will be the lead agency to keep an up-to-date register of protected underwater archaeological sites and shipwrecks. The director of the National Museum may declare an area to be protected zone or restricted area.

He also said that this measure will also establish strong legal sanctions along with educational programs for divers and underwater construction workers

The government is not only tasked to sustain development of countrys marine habitats and resources, but also preservation of any coin, gold, sunken vessel, shipwreck and any other object of scientific, cultural, religious or archaeological interest to the country, Angara said. (30)

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