IN an effort to restore heritage sites in the Philippines, the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) Task Force Trabaho is offering a free six-month training for basic masonry.
PGIN Communications and Media Office head June Arvin Gudoy said this is first time such a project will be launched in Northern Luzon and will start with at least 30 Ilocano youth in Paoay town here this coming month.
Gudoy explained masonry is in demand in Manila and abroad.
But he said the free training will focus on restoration of heritage sites including buildings, museums and churches.
“We are collaborating with the Mariano Marcos State University [MMSU] and the National Commission for Culture and the Arts [NCCA] as well as the Escuela Taller,” Gudoy said.
A school established by a Spanish agency, Escuela Taller, teaches trades within the construction industry that will help in the restoration of heritage sites in the country.
Gudoy said each trainee will receive P150 as initial daily allowance from PGIN that is also considering providing additional assistance such as free board and lodging.
“We are encouraging our youth here in Ilocos Norte, especially the out-of-school youth, aged 17 to 24 years old to avail of this great opportunity,” he added.
Gudoy added the trainees who completed the program will be hired for the restoration projects of the various heritage sites in the province.
“But of course they can also use the skills, which are very in demand, if they wish to work outside the province and even abroad,” Gudoy said.
Besides providing additional job opportunities, the program which is spearheaded by Gov. Imee Marcos under the PGIN’s Task Force Trabaho, also aims to further strengthen the promotion of Ilocos Norte as a top tourist destination.
Renowned for its distinct architecture with the enormous buttresses on its sides and back, the UNESCO World Heritage Site Paoay Church is one of the most visited sites in the province. UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Marcos even highlighted in her 2014 State of the Province Address that in the province, culture sells and has become a source of livelihood to the locals.
“People come to see this special culture that is unique and different from anything else from the world. We must urgently put in place a cultural strategy not merely to protect heritage sites and museums, but to promote art galleries and spaces, endow the schools of architecture, design, literature, gastronomy, and renew vanishing indigenous cultures,” she added.