SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau
Lawmakers are seeking an inquiry into the status of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Museum and Historical Library in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City in light of its sorry state, which is due mainly to the lack of financial, technical and administrative support from the national government.
Rep. Gary C. Alejano (Party-list, Magdalo) said the sorry state of the AFP Museum warrants urgent attention for it is facing acute financial difficulties that severely hamper the proper preservation and management of its collections, exhibitions, archives and also the well-being and professional advancement of its staff.
"The lack of technical, administrative and financial support from the national government have resulted in the inability of the AFP Museum to maintain the quality service that its founders and staff have worked so hard to build," said Alejano, a vice chairman of the House Committee on National Defense and Security.
Alejano said the annual revenue generated by the AFP Museum from its meager admission fees and occasional endowments are grossly insufficient to cover even the museum's maintenance and operating expenses.
Alejano is principal author of House Resolution 2462 seeking an inquiry, in aid of legislation, on the status of the AFP Museum and Historical Library. The resolution is co-authored by fellow Magdalo Rep. Francisco Ashley L. Acedillo, a former Philippine Air Force (PAF) officer.
Alejano, a former Marine officer, said the establishment of the museum complements Section 3, Article XIV of the Constitution which provides that the State shall inculcate patriotism and nationalism, and foster love of humanity, respect for human rights and appreciation of the role of national heroes in the historical development of the country.
According to him, the AFP Museum and Historical Library located at Bulwagang Heneral Arturo T. Enrile in Camp Aguinaldo was founded in 1996 to preserve, perpetuate, conserve and promote the Philippine military traditions, culture and history.
"The founding of the AFP Museum was only governed by a verbal pronouncement of the late Gen. Arturo Enrile which renders its existence devoid of any documentary proof," said Alejano. Enrile was a former AFP chief of staff during the Ramos administration.
The lawmaker further said the AFP Museum and Historical Library Foundation, Inc. was established in 1997 by a group of individuals from the military and the private sector to ensure the continuity of the museum's educational and curatorial activities.
Presently, Alejano said the absence of a restoration and conservation laboratory, storage facilities, proper ventilation, and museum lighting pose serious risks of damage to priceless artifacts.
"Inadequate funding is taking its toll on the hardworking personnel of the AFP Museum, who for years have not received the rightful compensation that they deserve. Moreover, the AFP Museum has not been able to set up its historical library due to limited space it shares with the AFP Theater, which owns the building that houses the museum." said Alejano.