Sen. Legarda: Save Ifugao Rice Terraces, Eighth Wonder of the World

banaue rice terracesImage by jonrawlinson
Concerned with reports on the rapid deterioration of the Ifugao Rice Terraces, Senator Loren Legarda today urged concerned government agencies, particularly the Ifugao Cultural Heritage Office, to ensure that various efforts are in place to save it from total degradation.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, filed Senate Resolution 440, which directs the committee to conduct an inquiry on the said issue.

"The Ifugao Rice Terraces has been dubbed as an Eighth Wonder of the World and inscribed in the World Heritage List in 1995 by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). "
"It was however included in the 1999 World Monument Watch's list of 100 most endangered sites and the 2001 UNESCO List of World Heritage in Danger due to its deterioration," Legarda cautioned.

The Senator also cited that the Philippine Rice Research Institute discovered that worms were damaging the roots produced by germinated rice seeds aside from eroding the terraces by digging out their walls, while rats were eating the rice flower heads and contributing to the terraces' erosion with their burrowing.

"According to UNESCO, the degradation of the Ifugao Rice Terraces is the result of the absence of the necessary monitoring mechanism and management plan to preserve and ensure the sustainable development of the national landmark."

"We have to immediately address the growing concerns over the many issues surrounding the worsening state of the rice terraces in order to determine the remedial measures that must be introduced to ensure that this national treasure is sustainably protected," Legarda said.