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SEAMEO SPAFA Director says the earthquake of 2013 has turned Bohol into a learning area for conservation

With a primary focus on movable cultural heritage, the 5th APTCCARN Meeting in Tagbilaran City, Province of Bohol, was hosted by the National Museum, Philippines, in collaboration with the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, the University of Melbourne and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA) from 4-6 April 2017.

The Province of Bohol, Philippines, suffered from the impact of the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in 2013, which was followed by Typhoon Haiyan not long after, causing much devastation*. The objective of the 5th APTCCARN forum was on people‐to‐people linkages across a diverse range of skills, capabilities, and experiences of cultural heritage recovery and disaster management in Bohol, Southeast Asia and further afield, which is essential in salvaging, rehabilitating, and sustaining management of Bohol’s cultural assets and heritage, as well as assets beyond those presented at the forum.

As Southeast Asian nations continue to be among the most vulnerable to climate change, such as more frequent and severe weather events, Dr. M.R. Rujaya Abhakorn believes that Bohol has become a model for disaster management and teacher for cultural heritage conservation for the region, as he was quoted saying in the Philippines Information Agency online article, “Heritage experts learn from Bohol’s conservation efforts.”

Forum discussions and presentations included active participation and learning for Asian Pacific participants working in the field of cultural heritage and education, as well as local and international heritage professionals, interested individuals, and Parish communities. SEAMEO SPAFA sponsored five Southeast Asian participants from Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, who shared their valuable knowledge and expertise in the forum.

*The SEAMEO Regional Centre for Archaeology and Fine Arts (SEAMEO SPAFA) had, on 2 December 2013, made a donation towards disaster relief efforts post-Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines by transmitting the amount of  US$ 2,000 to the bank account of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Center (NDRRMC) of the Philippines. (Read more about SEAMEO SPAFA’s donation here)

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