Nov 212013


A passenger jeepney passing by the old Aduana (customs) building in Intramuros, Manila. AFP FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – Getting the second highest number of votes, the Philippines won one of 12 seats in the prestigious World Heritage Committee that decides what locations and properties are included in the World Heritage List.

Receiving 116 from the total 173 votes, the Philippines will serve a four-year term. The rest of the elected countries – Croatia, Finland, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Peru, Poland, Portugal, Turkey and Viet Nam – will join the nine incumbent members of the committee.

“This was a clear indication of States Parties’ support for and belief in the country’s capabilities to perform the important mission of the Committee,” the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Thursday.

The elections, held during the 19th Session of the General Assembly of States Parties to the World Heritage Convention, have been described by Ambassador Cristina Ortega as “happy news for my country.”

The World Heritage Committee’s primary task is to identify places anywhere in the world that have important cultural or historical value. More than 900 World Heritage Sites have so far been listed including the Great Pyramids of Egypt, Great Barrier Reef in Australia and Taj Mahal in India.

The Committee is also the one that allocates funds from the World Heritage Fund, sourced from all member states through contributions, to countries that requests for financial assistance.

Five World Heritage Sites in the country are the Historic Town of Vigan in Ilocos Norte, the Rice Terraces in the Cordilleras, the Subterranean River in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, Baroque Churches of the Philippines, and the Tubbataha Reefs Natural Park.

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