The Cultural Properties Division
Role of the Cultural Properties Division
The Cultural Properties Division plays a Herculean role as protector of national cultural properties as stipulated in P D. 374. The specific agenda of this Division are as follows:
(1) registration of cultural properties owned by private individuals and collectors;
(2) licensing of dealers, agents, and exporters of cultural properties;
(3) research and compilation of data on important cultural properties, national shrines, monuinents, and landmarks;
(4) certification of income tax deduction for donations made to the National Museum or any accredited institution or for investment in the purchase of cultural properties registered with the National Museum for support of its scientific and cultural expeditions; and
(5) investigation of reported alleged violations of the laws.
An additional task given to the Division, which has been a source of pride and honor, is negotiating for the donation of lots highly recommended as sites or branch museums. The Butuan Regional Museum and Cagsawa Branch Museum were acquired by the National Museum through long and patient dialogues and negotiations made by Division Chief Efren G. Flores with their respective lot owners.
Providing technical assistance is one basic obligation of each division of the National Museum. In 1983, the Cultural Properties Division joined the Japanese War Memorial Mission in collecting the remains of Japanese soldiers who died in the Philippines during World War II. Recovered from the places visited were bones and skulls, a hand grenade, officer's stamp with stamp pad, buttons and heels of leather shoes. The remains were cremated for easy transport to Japan.
Technical assistance was likewise provided to an NGO, the Hamtic Historical and Cultural Foundation of Hamtic, Antique, on organizational development in 1997. The Division also assisted in the study of the ruins of an old church and their relationship to ancient granite slabs excavated in another church for historical purposes.
Indeed the Cultural Properties Division has come a long way since its beginnings. So much has been done and yet so much is still waiting to be accomplished. The main preoccupation of the whole team headed by Efren G. Flores, that of executing PD. 374, must be kept the thrust of the Division while finding new ways and methods of chasing violators. After all, chasing is one thing and bringing them to justice is another.