Uproar over ‘Hollywood’: Taal Volcano, landscape under World Heritage ‘Tentative List’

KD Suarez

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The 'Hollywood'-style sign that's being proposed for Taal might pose some problems, based on the rules of UNESCO.

MANILA, Philippines – The ‘Hollywood’-style sign that’s being proposed for Taal might pose some problems, based on the rules of UNESCO, or the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Taal Volcano, aside from being designated as a national park, is currently in the Tentative List for nomination to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

The UN defines it as a list of places or properties each country considers suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List. Taal is listed as the “Taal Volcano Protected Landscape,” and was submitted to the list back in May 2006.

Taal is categorized as a place with “exceptional natural beauty and aesthetic importance,” and a site which is is an “outstanding” example of geologic history and an important natural habitat and site for biological diversity. The UNESCO also states that a site, to be included in the list, must meet “conditions of integrity and/or authenticity,” among other criteria aiming to protect and preserve it.

The rules also state that properties or landmarks such as Taal must have its features “relatively intact,” and should have “outstanding universal value.” 

Based on the UNESCO rules, major changes to any landmark in the tentative list might become a hurdle to a potential listing in the World Heritage List.

The Philippines currently has 29 properties under its Tentative List. On the other hand, the country already has five properties listed as World Heritage Sites.

The provincial government, however, has defended the proposal to erect a “Hollywood”-inspired sign at the side of Taal Volcano in Batangas.

On Friday, Batangas Vice Gov. Marc Leviste defended the proposal, saying in a statement that the plan is still under review.

“We will take note of all your opinion/s & sentiments and use all the information as part of our study,” Leviste also posted on his official Facebook page.

He also said Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto was unaware of the interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which broke the story.

Santos, meanwhile, told dzIQ that the project had “no bad intentions.” She said they wanted to enhance the tourism program of the province. “I don’t decide alone being the governor, it should be well consulted,” dzIQ quoted Santos. – Rappler.com

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