February 10, 2017
Dear Members, Colleagues, and Friends,
On behalf of the new Board of Trustees of the Heritage Conservation Society, I wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day and a Happy Arts Month!
We were elected in November last year, and began our terms on the first of January this year. Throughout that period, we had been working to identify how best to serve you and the advocacy for conserving our nation's built heritage.
First, we need to refocus our work on the core advocacy. We feel that there exists a crucial need to truly empower our members to be effective champions for heritage. We will devote much of our resources on training and education, particularly on stakeholder skills development. We look forward to the day when communities themselves will organize and take the initiative to value and protect their heritage.
Second, we needed to streamline our organization in order to bring the organization closer together, while more effectively dealing with the challenges of our advocacy. Beginning this month, we will have only three working committees, specifically:
Internal Affairs, responsible for membership, secretariat and finance
External Affairs, responsible for training and education, and for building networks with other organizations
Institutional Partnerships, responsible for working with government agencies on policy, legislation and reform
A special mention goes out to the Youth Committee members who, in past years, have done much to get young individuals involved in the advocacy. However, in reorienting our organization's focus and in becoming more effective heritage champions, we will need to gather our people and our resources for now into just these three committees. It will also create opportunities for our younger members to work closely with more experienced members to learn more about the advocacy at a technical and professional level.
Third, each of these committees will have very specific deliverables this year, and we ask each member to sign up for their committees once the website has been relaunched:
Internal Affairs will focus on strengthening our membership and building our financial base. Our organization needs resources to conduct its campaigns, and we call on our members to contribute their share of dues, even as the organization searches out for other funding sources.
External Affairs will take the lead in developing and implementing, in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, a program that equips our members and other stakeholders to be effective champions of heritage.
Institutional Partnerships will work with the cultural agencies and both houses of Congress in pushing for policies and laws that more effectively protect heritage.
Fourth, crucial to moving forward is overhauling our website and Facebook presence, so that members can easily pay their dues through the website, and we can effectively share information though these platforms. We intend to have a revamped website operational by March, at www.heritage.org.ph , and to gradually upload information, materials and resources for members throughout the first quarter of 2017. Stay tuned for more announcements on our Facebook page.
Finally, and crucially, even during the month of December, as our organization transitioned from one Board to another, the urgency of our advocacy was emphasized as we received word of the planned "redevelopment" of Rizal Memorial Sports Center. During the Christmas season, both the old Board and the new collaborated in drafting a comprehensive statement against the redevelopment, emphasizing other public values - the need for open space, for health and exercise, for the environment - beyond the architectural, historical or cultural. Following this, we look forward to consulting closely with our members and stakeholders in formulating arguments, gathering ideas and developing strategies to better conserve our nation's built heritage.
On behalf of the 2017-2018 Board of Trustees, we look forward to working with all of you in articulating an idea of national development that is rooted in our culture, history and identity, as embodied by the conservation of our built heritage.
Very truly yours,
Mark Richard Evidente