Ifugao governor disputes FAO on deterioration of rice terraces
The Ifugao Rice Terraces are classified as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Andy Zapanta Jr.
Ifugao governor disputes FAO on deterioration of rice terraces
Artemio Dumlao (Philstar.com) - December 17, 2019 - 2:57pm

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines — The rice terraces in Ifugao are being cared for, Ifugao Gov. Jerry Dalipog declared, disputing a United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization description of the world heritage site as being "in a very critical stage of deterioration".

He said some P194 million will be allotted in 2020 for the rehabilitation of the terraces.

FAO said the "continued survival of the terraces is threatened by various factors such as environmental degradation, unregulated development and neglect brought about by urbanization and changing values."

READ: Rice terraces in critical state – FAO

Dalipog said FAO has not been in touch with Ifugao province regarding the state of the rice terraces, while assuring that international partners are aware of rehabilitation and restoration programs there.

The governor said the P194-million budget for the rice terraces in 2020 will be sourced from the Department of Public Works and Highways and the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority. 

FAO recognizes the Ifugao Rice Terraces as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS), FAO stated.

Sen. Imee Marcos meanwhile lamented an apparent lack of government attention on preserving the terraces. 

"I am calling on the local government of Ifugao, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, Department of Tourism and even the Department of Agriculture, let us work together. It is the country's reputation on the line."

RELATED: Ifugao State University assesses condition of rice terraces

Marcos, chair of the Senate Comittee on Cultural Communities, said she is afraid that the rice terraces could be erased from the Philippine map with its deteriorating state.

From 1,670 hectares of the terraces stretching from Hungduan to Banaue, 600 hectares are reportedly abandoned and needing rehabilitation.

Marcos is proposing a comprehensive  plan and the help of experts to arrest the deterioration of the heritage site.

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