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SOURCE: Press and Public Affairs Bureau

Bill strengthening the National Museum of the Philippines approved
03 November 2018 01:37:46 PM

The House Committee on Ways and Means chaired by Rep. Estrellita Suansing (1st District, Nueva Ecija) approved a substitute bill which seeks to strengthen the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) to enable it to fulfill its mandate more effectively.

The approval was done after the Committee amended the tax provisions of the bill namely, Sections 19, 20, 21, and 22.

Certain paragraphs of Sections 19 and 20 were deleted while Section 21 was amended to incorporate key tax provisions. Thus, the amended Section 21 titled “Exemption From Fees, Duties And Charges” now provides that the NMP shall continue to be classified as a national government agency.

As enumerated by Suansing, the amendments to Section 21 provide that: a) the NMP shall be exempt from the payment of taxes, fees and charges imposed by the national government and its political subdivisions, agencies and instrumentalities; b) all donations, in any form, to the NMP shall be exempt from the donor’s tax and the same shall be considered as allowable deduction from the gross income in computation of the income tax of the donor in accordance with the provisions of Republic Act 8424 otherwise known as the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended; and c) importation of scientific, philosophical, historical and cultural books, supplies and materials for the use in the conservation or preservation work of the NMP shall be exempt from customs duties.

The committee also decided to delete Section 22 because of the government’s ongoing rationalization of fiscal incentives. The deleted section proposed tax incentives for donations of items to the NMP collections.

The proposed “National Museum of the Philippines Act” substituted House Bill 1177 authored by Deputy Speaker Pia Cayetano, HB 1502 by Rep. Gary Alejano (Party-list, Magdalo), HB 1727 by Rep. Rozzano Rufino Biazon (Lone District, Muntinlupa City), HB 1813 by Rep. Alfred Vargas (5th District, Quezon City), HB 3201 by Rep. Deogracias Victor Savellano (1st District, Ilocos Sur), HB 3333 by Rep. Victoria Isabel Noel (Party-list, AN WARAY), and HB 3820 by Rep. Strike Revilla (2nd District, Cavite).

The bill declares it is the policy of the State to pursue and support the cultural development of the Filipino people through the preservation, enrichment and dynamic evolution of Filipino national culture, based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression.

It provides for the renaming of the National Museum as the “National Museum of the Philippines”, or alternatively in Filipino, “Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas.”

The NMP shall be the primary institution of the State for the management and development of museums and collections of national scope or significance in the areas of arts, cultural heritage and natural history in order to protect, preserve, study and promote the national patrimony for the benefit of current and future generations.

The NMP shall, among others : 1) establish, manage and develop the National Museum Complex in Rizal Park in Manila, central museums, regional museums, and other facilities; 2) promote the principle of universal access by the public; 3) manage and develop the national collections of the Republic of the Philippines in the areas of science of arts, cultural heritage, and natural history ; and 4) carry out permanent research programs combining integrated laboratory and field work in biodiversity, geological history, human origins, pre-historical and historical archaeology, maritime and underwater cultural heritage, ethnology, art, history, immovable, movable and intangible cultural properties, and similar or associated fields.

To ensure its independence and autonomy, the NMP shall be considered as a trust of the government, attached solely for budgetary coordination and related purposes to the Department of Education (DepEd).

The whole Executive House, also known as the old Congress or Legislative Building, together with the Department of Finance Building and Department of Tourism, originally Agriculture and Commerce Building on Agrifina Circle in Rizal Park in Manila, shall be the permanent and exclusive site of the NMP.

The bill also provides for : 1) the preservation of the Senate Halls of the House of Representatives and the Senate in the Old Legislative Building; 2) dedication of the NMP Complex to Dr. Jose Rizal; 3) development of a master plan for the NMP Complex; and 4) maintenance of existing regional museums and satellite offices, and creation of new ones in administrative regions where there are presently none.

The NMP shall be governed by a 15-member Board of Trustees or Board composed of eight representatives of the private sector and the following as ex-officio members: the Chairperson of the appropriate Committee of the Senate covering the field of culture, the Chairperson of the appropriate Committee of the House of Representatives covering the field of culture, the Secretaries of the Departments of Education, Environment and Natural Resources, and Tourism, the Chairperson of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and the Director-General of the NMP.

The Chairperson of the Board shall be designated by the President of the Philippines from among the members representing the private sector.

Lastly, the NMP shall be headed by a Director-General, who shall serve as the Head of Agency with a rank and emoluments of an Undersecretary. The Director-General shall be assisted by a Deputy Director-General for Museums and a Deputy Director-General for Administration, each of whom shall hold the rank and emoluments of an Assistant Secretary. | Rowena B. Bundang