News Commentary

Museums matter in nation-building

Ernesto Carolina - The Philippine Star
Museums matter in nation-building
CATA-AL World War II Museum

It is very important that we Filipinos must know our history, one that is replete with narratives of our forefathers' heroism and selfless sacrifice for our country's freedom and democracy. This drives the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office (PVAO) in the pursuit of its mission to commemorate our great historic past and propagate our veterans' heroic deeds.

Concomitantly, the PVAO believes that museums matter in propagating history. National museums are knowledge-based with corresponding collections and displays that articulate and represent dominant national values which constitute the basis for nation building and dynamic country formation.

As we continue to institutionalize reforms for the propagation of our country's great historic past, PVAO has mapped its Kagitingan Builders program. Efforts and initiatives in propagating our veterans' heroic deeds are done through the establishment of "Love for Country Builders"—by developing our national military shrines as centers or hubs of our country's great historic past. The centerpiece in these historical markers are the museums that preserve, protect and promote the nation's collective memory, knowledge and history.

Our new concept in museum development is to have interactive and experiential platforms and not mere static displays and pictures of the past. Thus, we want to bring our citizens to the shrines, especially the youth who are the hope of our nation. In doing so, our national military shrines are developed to become tourist destinations, capitalizing on the combined message of a beautiful story and a beautiful scenery."

To note, the Mt. Samat National Shrine is now a proclaimed Flagship Tourism Enterprise Zone (FTEZ), while the Corregidor Island and Capas National Shrine, Tarlac are now being considered to be redeveloped along the FTEZ framework in accordance with Republic Act No. 9395. On the other hand, the Balete Pass Shrine in Sta. Fe, Nueva Vizcaya; the Kiangan National Shrine in Ifugao Province; and the Balantang National Shrine in Jaro, lloilo City are also emerging tourist destinations and future FTEZs.

The flagship programs for the Mt. Samat National Shrine in Pilar, Bataan and the Corregidor Island Shrine in Cavite are designed to create an integrated tourism complex to host tourism enterprise facilities and services through historical restoration, heritage conservation and sustainable development. The nation may witness sacred places imbued with historical significance, and world class tourist attractions.
Other PVAO infrastructure projects, particularly the development of existing as well as new military shrines such as the Battle of lsing and Battle of P enrolled in the NEDA's Three-Year Rolling Infrastructure Program to ensure that funding support for these projects are appropriated in the government's National Expenditure Program.

All these infrastructure projects are considered as the soft components of the “Build, Build Program" of the current administration, which PVAO refers to as "Love for Country Builders." Thus, PVAO is taking advantage of the opportunity to promote its Kagitingan infrastructures consistent with the objectives of "Chapter 7 of the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022: Promoting Philippine Culture and Values." In addition to ports, bridges, and dams that boost economic growth, PVAO deems shrine development as a critical aspect of nation-building that would promote and uplift the Filipinos' sense of national pride and nationalism.

With “Love for Country Builders," we hope to prepare our youth as the country's future defenders, future leaders of our nation. It is vital that in shaping their character and molding their leadership, they draw from the values and ideals exemplified by our veterans.

We are committed and inspired to continue our journey in the implementation of "Love for Country Builders" and we are ensuring to sustain our gains from the past years, now focusing on Kagitingan builders as our vision and our shared commitment with our partners, stakeholders and the nation.


LtGen. Erneto G. Carolina AFP (Ret.) is the ddministrator of the Philippine Veterans Affairs Office.


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