Selected prison records as cultural treasures?

Published April 21, 2022, 10:10 AM

by Jeffrey Damicog

Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm

The Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) has expressed willingness to have its selected prison records since the American occupation of the Philippines in 1898 included in the list of national cultural treasures.

In a statement, BuCor said that Director General Gerald Q. Bantag has assured the cooperation with the National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) to achieve the goal.

It said that BuCor representatives met virtually with NAP officials last April 18 to discuss the project.

NAP officials who joined the meeting were led by Executive Director Victorino Mapa Manalo, while BuCor was represented by Carmen C. Paran, chief of the Records Section National Headquarters; Iwahig Prison and Penal Farm (IPPF) head, C/Supt. Joel Calvelo; and San Ramon Prison and Penal Farm (SRPPF) C/Supt. Jhaeron Lacaben.

“The said event is a resumption of the discussion of the goals and proposals of the NAP in pushing the declaration of our selective records that existed in the time of the American occupation here in the Philippines as a National Cultural Treasure,” BuCor said.

Prison records specified during the meeting were those in IPPF and SRPPF, it said.

It noted that “if the said records of the BuCor were carefully evaluated and will be included in the list of the National Cultural Treasures, they will have the equivalent treatment just like the Rizal Monument, Spoliarium by Juan Luna and more.”

“Hence, they are very optimistic and eager to pursue the project because it will be one of the biggest milestones of BuCor as they emphasized that it is a rare opportunity for an agency to have the chance to have its records considered as National Treasures,” it added.