National, regional, and site representatives convened for the final session of the National Online Workshops for the Philippine Participation in the Third Cycle of Periodic Reporting of the World Heritage Convention last 18 March 2021. National Focal Points reported the substantial completion of each site’s inputs: 100% Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park (TRNP), 99% Mount Hamiguitan Wildlife Range Sanctuary (Hamiguitan) and Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park (PP), 95% Historic City of Vigan (Vigan), and on-going for the Baroque Churches of the Philippines (The Churches) and the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras (Rice Terraces).
Site managers also shared their impressions, inquiries, and insights with regard to participating in the global conservation exercise. TRNP Superintendent Angelique Songco raised the possibility for the World Heritage Committee to consider updating the geographical information, map, and designation under the Statement of Outstanding Universal Value. Meanwhile, Hamiguitan Ecosystems Specialist Clint Michael Cleofe cited that their team will include the sections and proceedings of the questionnaire in their upcoming updating of management plan. In the case of PP, PP Superintendent Elizabeth Maclang raised inquiries on the changes related to new management zones and validation of their previous data. For the cultural sites, Vigan Senior Tourism Officer Jo-Anne Gutierrez committed to finish their portion two weeks before the deadline and expressed her gratitude to the support of NCCA, UNACOM, and UNESCO Jakarta in their recent and on-going conservation projects. During the meeting, it was raised that the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office recently underwent a change of management that affected their participation in the survey. In the case of Santo Tomas de Villanueva Church, Miag-ao Tourism Officer Anthony Selorio reported the pandemic effects on the site’s management, restoration, tourism, and employment. The NHCP offered its assistance to launch workshops on site maintenance and restoration upon receiving letter of request from the Church or local authorities of Miag-ao. Other cultural site managers were unable to report due to technical difficulties among other reasons.
UNACOM committed to inform the World Heritage Center on the concerns that surfaced during the meeting in relation to the survey questionnaire. Before the meeting was adjourned, the upcoming project on the official World Heritage Map translation as part of the preparation for the International Decade of Indigenous Languages was introduced to the body. The NCCA and DENR representatives proactively offered their assistance in making the upcoming project successful.