By Charissa Luci-Atienza
Manila Bulletin

Biliran Rep. Gerardo Espina Jr. is seeking the creation of Biliran Cultural Center and Museum to preserve and promote the exceptional cultural heritage of the country’s fourth smallest province.

He laments that his province has no cultural center to showcase its unique cultural heritage.

“The province has no museum to house and protect all the artifacts, relics, works of art and the multitude of other objects which symbolize and represent the heritage of the past, present, and future of its residents, ” Espina, vice chairperson of the House Committees on Health and Agrarian Reform, said.

He said the historical artifacts and objects are scattered throughout different municipalities in their province.

“Most are worn out, submerged to flash floods, washed out by storm surge, stolen and lost. The rest of the objects may soon just disappear and be lost forever unless immediate action is taken, ” he said.

Espina, a member of the House Committee on Tourism, batted for the passage of House Bill No. 4479 which seeks the establishment of a culture center and museum in Biliran.

The proposed cultural center shall be under the supervision of the National Museum.

HB 4479 tasks the Sangguniang Panglungsod of the Biliran province in coordination with the National Museum Director to choose the site of the Biliran Cultural Center and Museum.

The proposed cultural center is expected to compile the musical notes and lyrics of Biliran traditional songs, ballads and contemporary music compositions, and to collect samples of musical instruments of Biliran origin; publish and disseminate Biliran literary works, epics, stories, and historical accounts; and compile Biliran literature, film or audio-visual recordings of cultural performances in music, dances, oral literature and festival celebrations.

The Biliran Cultural Center and Museum is also tasked to gather and document Biliran religious practices and traditions, and the background and origin of Biliran fiestas and festivals; and to compile photographs of and showcase Biliran landmarks, historical sites, and scenic views by appropriate exhibits.

Part of the Center’s responsibility is to gather specimen of archaeological findinfs, collect stones, rocks and other geological materials; and preserve samples of flora and fauna indigenous to the province of Biliran.

HB 4479 provides that the amount necessary for the implementation of the proposed Act shall be charged to the current appropriations for the National Museum. Thereafter, such sum as may be necessary for the continuous operation and maintenance of the cultural center and museum shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act.

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