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DOT chief backs calls for return of pulpit panels to Boljoon Church

MANILA: Department of Tourism (DOT) Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco is supporting the call for the National Museum of the Philippines (NMP) to return the Boljoon pulpit panels to the Archdiocesan Shrine of Patrocinio de Maria Santissima in Cebu.

In a press release on Monday, the DOT said Frasco wrote a letter to the NMP Board of Trustees Chairperson Andoni Aboitiz, manifesting her support for the requests of the Archdiocese of Cebu, Cebu provincial government, and Boljoon town for the return of the religious panels to the Boljoon Church.

‘These panels bear profound significance in Cebuano’s history, serving as a tangible reflection of the rich cultural heritage and religious traditions of the people of Cebu,’ she said.

‘Moreover, the Boljoon Church is of outstanding cultural value to the Philippines as a National Cultural Treasure, National Historical Landmark, and is on the Philippines’ Tentative List as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Extension).’

Cultural heritag
e in the approved National Tourism Development Plan (NTDP) 2023-2028 underscores the DOT’s mission to build a tourism industry rooted in Filipino culture, Frasco said.

Religious artifacts and sites enrich the culture and history of tourism destinations by driving travelers to visit. They also support the local economy by providing tourism-related livelihood and employment.

As such, the DOT identified pilgrimage tourism or traveling to tourist destinations to pay homage to religious artifacts and sites that are of significance to their faith.

Earlier, the Boljoon municipality requested the NMP to investigate the circumstances surrounding the pulpit panels which have been reportedly more than four decades ago.

Last month, private collectors donated them to the NMP.

Source: Philippines News Agency