House OKs bill declaring Baclaran Church’s environs a heritage site, tourist destination

THE House of Representatives passed a bill declaring Baclaran Church’s immediate environs a heritage site and tourist destination.

The House approved House Bill (HB) 8988 on third and final reading during its plenary session on Thursday.

“The immediate environs of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, popularly known as the Baclaran Church, located along Roxas Boulevard, Parañaque City, is hereby declared a heritage site and tourist destination. As such, the development of the immediate environs of the Baclaran Church shall be prioritized by the Department of Tourism (DOT), in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the local government of Parañaque and other concerned agencies, subject to the rules and regulations governing the development of heritage sites and tourist destinations”, the bill read.

HB 8988 also states that within a year “after the approval of this Act,” the DoT, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways and other concerned government agencies, “shall prepare a tourism development plan including the construction, installation and maintenance of such appropriate facilities and infrastructure that shall improve the overall features of the environs surrounding Baclaran Church, thereby ensuring its accessibility and the security of tourists”.

The development plan, the bill states, “shall ensure the preservation and conservation of” the area’s historical significance.

HB 8988 also states that the DoT secretary and the NHCP chairman “shall include in their respective programs the implementation of this Act, the funding of which shall be included in the” General Appropriations Act of every year, and the DoT’s internally generated funds.