Rebuilding of rice terraces pushed

December 8, 2011

Rolly T. Carandang
Manila Bulletin
December 7, 2011

MANILA, Philippines — Citing its importance as part of the country’s cultural heritage and tourism program, the Senate adopted a resolution last Tuesday urging government agencies to work together to rebuild the damaged walls of the Ifugao Rice Terraces.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan, principal author of Resolution No. 650, said the resolution aims to mobilize the government and private sectors to preserve the terraces from further degradation.

“The rice terraces are a living cultural heritage of our indigenous people. They reflect the capacity of our people to build such grand structures. We have to ensure that they are preserved,” Pangilinan said in his sponsorship speech.

A recent report from the Philippine Rice Research Institute said worms had damaged the roots of germinated rice seeds and eroded the terraces by digging out their walls.

Super Typhoons “Pedring” and “Quiel,” which battered the country this year, had likewise reportedly destroyed 102,663 cubic meters of the terraces.

Built 2,000 years ago, the Ifugao Rice Terraces are approximately 1,500 meters above sea level, covering 10,360 square kilometers of the mountainside with steep slopes of 70 degrees maximum. They were included in the World Heritage List in 1995 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The government should encourage Filipinos, particularly the youth, to participate in efforts to save the rice terraces and promote appreciation of the culture of indigenous people, according to the senators who authored the resolution.

“Considering the vulnerability of the rice terraces to damage caused by environmental factors, the government should support efforts to preserve them from further degradation,” they said.

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