July 20, 2024

Bicol Express News

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Official Statement on the proposed relocation of the DepEd Sorsogon City Division Office to the Sorsogon National High School Main Building

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The Kurit-Lagting Art Collective and the Concerned Artists of the Philippines Bicol Chapter, strongly oppose and object to the proposed relocation of the DepEd Sorsogon City Division Office to the Sorsogon National High School Main Building.

The National Cultural Heritage Act (Republic Act No. 10066) protects the Sorsogon National High School Main Building since it is over 50 years old and has considerable cultural and historical importance. For the sake of both the present and the future generations, it is imperative that we acknowledge and respect the significance of maintaining such structure.

As cultural workers, educators, and artists, we fight to preserve the historic structure in accordance with the National Cultural Heritage Act and oppose its use as the new DepEd Sorsogon City Division Office for the following reasons:

·              Impact to the Students: Transferring students to a different location has a detrimental effect on the learning environment and presents a serious threat to the preservation of our cultural heritage. Since the historic structure is being converted into an office, moving students to a different location would interfere with their education. The historical background ingrained in the current structure makes for a special and stimulating learning atmosphere that is difficult to duplicate elsewhere.

Furthermore, maintaining the Sorsogon National High School Main Building is a commitment to our  students’ overall growth. A sense of identity, pride, and kinship with the past are fostered by exposure to cultural heritage in the educational environment. Moving students away from this historic landmark would deny them everyday opportunities to connect with their cultural heritage.

·              Cultural Significance: Sorsogon’s cultural identity and heritage are preserved in historic buildings. They provide us with concrete connections to the past by providing an understanding of the architectural designs, and building practices.  Using the SNHS main building as the DepEd Sorsogon City Division Office would mean erasing a crucial portion of our cultural history and jeopardizing the Sorsogon people’s collective memory.

·              Educational Value: For upcoming generations, historic structures such as the SNHS main building offer priceless educational materials. They serve as living classrooms where academics and students can study and understand the evolution of design, construction techniques, and the historical context in which these structures were constructed. Keeping them in place ensures that everyone will still have access to these educational opportunities.

·              Community Identity: Local communities’ identities are inextricably linked to their historic buildings. They act as landmarks that help to identify and set apart different neighborhoods. When such buildings are destroyed, altered, or used for other purposes,  the continuity of the community’s identity is disrupted, which weakens the people’s sense of place and belonging. Communities and pride can be strengthened through preservation activities.

·              Sustainable Practices: Preserving historic structures promotes sustainable practices by repurposing existing materials and reducing the environmental footprint associated with new construction. This aligns with global efforts to promote sustainability and combat climate change. Altering, modifying, and damaging such as the repurposing as an office will contribute to environmental degradation, generating substantial waste and consuming resources.

·              National Cultural Heritage Act Compliance: The National Cultural Heritage Act explicitly recognizes the importance of preserving cultural heritage, imposing legal obligations to protect structures over 50 years old. Damaging and destroying such buildings in any way would constitute a violation of this legislation. Adhering to the law demonstrates the government’s commitment to upholding cultural heritage preservation. The Sorsogon National High School serves as a reminder of our rich architectural and cultural history. Its historical significance adds to Sorsogon’s cultural story and the community’s collective memory. This building’s structural integrity and historical significance may be compromised if it is used as the DepEd Sorsogon City Division Office.

We are responsible therefore for safeguarding and protecting culturally significant structures. Alternative locations for the DepEd Sorsogon City Division Office should be considered to safeguard the preservation of the Sorsogon National High School Main Building as an important part of Sorsogon’s rich cultural heritage.

By doing so, we not only comply with the National Cultural Heritage Act, but we also demonstrate our dedication to the students by prioritizing them and conserving the historic building’s distinctive identity and history.

We oppose the destruction of the SNHS Main Building!

Preserve the SNHS Main Building!

Let the SNHS Main Building endure!