Imee Marcos, Robin Padilla push for gov’t ownership of historical artifacts
MANILA, Philippines —Senators Imee Marcos and Robin Padilla both wish to see historical artifacts in the hands of the government rather than private collectors.
At Thursday’s hearing before the Senate’s committee on culture and arts, Padilla recalled attending an auction of a letter sent by Philippine hero Andres Bonifacio.
According to his account, a private collector ultimately outbid institutions to get the letter.
“Hindi kaya pu-pwedeng, halimbawa, nabili ng private pero idi-display nila sa National Museum, pwede ba ‘yung ganoon?” Padilla asked.
(Can it be, for instance, a private individual who bought it but can he display it at the National Museum?)
Marcos hoped that historical artifacts wouldn’t end up in the hands of collectors.
“It cannot go to the private hand sana… If it’s so significant, so pivotal in the career of the artist or significant in the history of the Philippines, kinakailangan mauna ang pamahalaan sa presyong kaya. Kahit bayaran na overtime at ‘wag mapunta sa private collection,” she said.
(Hopefully, it will not fall into the wrong hands. If it’s that important to the artist’s career or to Philippine history, the government should get first rights at a reasonable price. As long as it’s not someone’s collection, we can stagger out the payments.)
Padilla then said: “Opo, sana po kasi napakahalaga. Sayang.”
(Yes, hopefully, because it is very important. Such a regret.)
However, National Museum Director-General Jeremy Robert Barns clarified that auctions of cultural items are not prohibited as long as they would not be transported outside of the country.
Barns also said that the government does not have the budget to purchase such items.
“Wala hong budget pambili plus walang rule na hindi naman pwede i-buy and sell ‘yung mga historical artifacts na ito. It’s perfectly legal to sell them,” he told the senators.
(No budget to acquire, and no regulation against buying-and-selling historical objects. Sale is legal.)
“What is regulated, sir, is their permanent export in the country. Kung dito lang sa Pilipinas (Here in the Philippines), one collector is selling, and another local collector is buying, and it stays in the Philippines, there’s no law against that” he continued.
Barns further noted: “Government cannot compete because of the lack of resources.” -with reports from Christian Paul Dela Cruz, INQUIRER.net intern
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