House okays on 2nd reading bill boosting National Museum

January 01, 2019

UNDERSCORING its commitment to preserve the cultural and historical landmarks of the country, the House of Representatives has approved on second reading a bill seeking to strengthen the organization and operations of the National Museum.

House Bill (HB) No. 8795 or the “National Museum of the Philippines Act,” principally authored by Ilocos Sur Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano, seeks to repeal Republic Act (RA) No. 8492 or the “National Museum Act of 1998.”

It aims to sustain the conservation of the Philippines’ cultural treasures and foster scholarly study and appreciation of works of art specimens and cultural and historical artifacts.

Primary among its provisions is to change the name of the National Museum to “National Museum of the Philippines” or, alternatively in Filipino, “Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas.”

HB 8795 mandates that the shortened name “National Museum” or “Pambansang Museo” shall be understood as exclusively referring to the same.

The National Museum of the Philippines shall be the primary institution of the State for the management and development of museums and collections of national scope or significance in the areas of arts, cultural heritage and national history, for purposes of protecting, preserving, studying and promoting the national patrimony for the benefit of current and future generations supporting education and social progress, and contributing to economic development through tourism and educational, scientific, cultural and leisure services and industries.

For budgetary coordination and related purposes, it shall be attached solely to the Department of Education.

Meanwhile, HB 8795 identifies the Executive House, also known as the Old Congress or Legislative Building, together with the Department of Finance and the Department of Tourism Buildings on Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park in the City of Manila as the permanent and exclusive site of the National Museum. The former Session Halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the Old Legislative Building shall also be preserved as a tribute to the legacy of the members of the Philippine Legislature and Congress.

The composition of the National Museum Complex is also identified and developed by the measure. The Complex, which is part of the Rizal Park in Manila, shall be dedicated to the life, work, and memory of Dr. Jose Rizal.

The central museums of the Museum shall be classified to include the existing National Museum of Fine Arts, National Museum of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History and the National Planetarium.

Anonymous donations of money from visitors, which shall be considered gratuities and credited to the Museum Donations Fund, shall be accepted by the Museum. The donations may be accepted through the placement of donation boxes or by persons authorized for the purpose. The Museum shall be exempted from applicable taxes, duties, fees and charges from donations.

The existing Museum Endowment Fund, sourced from the P250 million annual net earnings of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office and P250 million from the annual net earnings of the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation shall continue to be utilized for the purpose of implementing special programs, projects, and activities of the Museum.