3 sites in Palawan included in Tentative List

The UNESCO National Commission of the Philippines’ held its 3rd leg workshop entitled, “Pamana: World Heritage and Biosphere Reserve Nomination Series,” which aims to build the technical capacities of the different sites in the World Heritage Tentative List of the Philippines.

As of 2016, 19 sites, including Coron Island Natural Biotic Area, El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area and Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, have made it to the said list for eventual submission and consideration by the UNESCO.

(Top to Bottom) Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area and Coron Island Natural Biotic Area. (PHOTO/PCSDS EEED)
(Top to Bottom) Mt. Mantalingahan Protected Landscape, El Nido-Taytay Managed Resource Protected Area and Coron Island Natural Biotic Area. (PHOTO/PCSDS EEED)

The 3rd workshop focused on protection and management, the third pillar of World Heritage inscription. It featured case studies from sites managers of current World Heritage Sites (WHS).

“Essentially, the workshop emphasized the equal importance of ensuring that the site being nominated as WHS must be safeguarded, protected and faithfully managed,” said Madrono P. Cabrestante Jr., Head of Special Concerns of the Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Staff (PCSDS), who attended the said workshop in Legazpi City on March 22-25.

Just like the previous workshops, the sites managers of Tentative List sites were asked to prepare the “protection and management section of the nomination dossier, for subsequent review of UNACOM experts and will be given back to them for eventual revision.”

“These efforts hope to aid site managers in the eventual completion of their respective nomination dossier,” said Cabrestante. “Both WHS and Biosphere Reserve nominations were included in the workshop, as both contain similarities in the technicalities required in the dossier writing,” he added.

It can be noted that the 1st and 2nd UNESCO workshop focused on 1) the outstanding universal value, and 2) authenticity and integrity, respectively. In these workshops, site managers of Tentative List Sites were required to submit a draft dossier that covered parts concerning the outstanding universal value (OUV), and workable timetables for their nomination dossier writing.

Considering that Palawan has three Tentative Listees, Cabrestante said UNESCO Philippines’ OIC Len Barrientos looks at the possibility of holding a specialized workshop anytime these coming months of May or June in Coron to coincide with a UNESCO activity in the area.

This will afford the nominees’ technical team full guidance in writing their nomination dossier.

“The PCSDS District Management Offices may assist the local government units with sites in the Tentative List to create their respective technical working groups, if there is none yet, or fully assist it if one has been organized towards preparation of the nomination dossier,” Cabrestante added.

‘Developmental pressures’

Architect Michael Manalo of UNESCO reviewed the institutional statute that created the World Heritage Convention, officially entitled, “Convention Concerning the Protection of the World’s Cultural and Natural Heritage” in 1972, which took effect in 1975.

He emphasized that this convention was born because of “developmental pressures” and the need to protect these natural and cultural heritage sites.

He pointed out the importance of identifying the “Outstanding Universal Value” (OUV) of a natural or cultural site, which is basically stipulated in the operational guidelines of the World Heritage Convention, specifically on “why is the site valuable to humanity (or the entire world), and not just to our families, community, or locality.”