How the cheapest form of conservation can mitigate disasters on heritage structures

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The Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation, Inc. is set to launch “Preventive Maintenance toward Disaster Risk Reduction: A course for Managers and Administrators of Heritage Sites” on Nov. 11 until Dec. 6 over a blended-learning period of 14 days, combining seven days of synchronous sessions and seven days of asynchronous sessions.

Attendees shall build their capacities in the proper maintenance of heritage structures and sites and reduce their vulnerabilities to natural and human-induced hazards through preventive conservation.

“Heritage places in the Philippines are vulnerable and are in constant risk of being damaged due to the high frequency of typhoons and earthquakes and therefore need to be in their top form to reduce the destructive effects of these natural phenomena,” explained Ar. Jeffrey “Foom” Cobilla, Escuela Taller’s Head of Project Development and Management for Heritage Conservation, on why the course is being offered.

“Preventive maintenance is the simplest and most basic conservation approach to built heritage,” he said.

Cobilla believes in Filipinos’ increasing awareness of the need to safeguard our heritage and that there is an opportunity for site owners and custodians to harness that interest in gathering support for conservation initiatives.

“Since our built heritage is considered cultural property, its values are shared and it follows that the responsibility for its protection should also be shared,” said Cobilla. “With more people having a better understanding of the importance of our heritage assets and with it the growing desire to properly take care of them, the task of implementing the simplest conservation approach becomes much easier.”

The course is mainly targeted for local government officials from various offices, parish council members, parish priests, and cultural heritage groups.

Some topics that attendees can expect to learn from the course are an overview of Philippine Architectural Heritage, developing a Preventive Maintenance Program and Cyclical Maintenance Plan, and basic documentation, condition survey, cleaning, and repair procedures.

Among the roster of speakers are David Mason (Senior Heritage Specialist from the Public Works Advisory of New South Wales, Australia), Carmen Bettina “Tina” Bulaong (Executive Director, Escuela Taller de Filipinas), Ar. Jeffrey Cobilla, Ar. Michael Querido (Project Officer, Escuela Taller de Filipinas), Sarah Jane S. Pahimnayan-Pagador (Architect, Escuela Taller de Filipinas), and Ma. Nicole “Nikky” Angeline Losa (Site Officer, Old La Loma Cemetery Chapel).

Escuela Taller is recognized as a leader in local built heritage conservation and has proven their expertise on Preventive Maintenance: In 2017, the organization hosted an international symposium on Preventive Maintenance. Escuela Taller led the conservation of the Malate Church for five years, applying techniques in Preventive Maintenance to safeguard the historic structure from major earthquakes. They are also in the process of developing a manual on the topic.

This training is co-sponsored by Sika Philippines Inc. and the Prince Claus Fund.



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