The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), along with the Intramuros Administration (IA), has signed a framework agreement for collaboration on Escuela Taller de Filipinas Foundation Inc. with the Agencia Espanola de Cooperacion Internacional para el Desarrollo (AECID) on July 10 at Ravellin de Recoletos in Intramuros. There was also a signing of the articles of incorporation and the by-laws of Escuela Taller.
“As you may well all know, the Escuela Taller is primarily a vocational school that imparts skills and discipline in field of building construction giving special attention to the traditional building methods. After these years of continuous support, we are glad to say that the time has come to transfer this task to the national authority,” Ambassador of the Spain to the Philippines Jorge Domecq said.
Domecq also said that Escuela Taller is the only vocational school in Asia that caters to heritage conservation.
“It has been an integral part that is related to culture and heritage and the preservation of the Philippine patrimony. Escuela Taller of Manila is the only one of its kind in Asia,” he added. “It follows the model that has been successfully implemented with the support of the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation all over Latin America with around 30 similar institutions.”
The NCCA has been helping Escuela Taller with its programs since its inception in 2009. It has been funding 25 percent of its school budget.
Escuela Taller has been providing education for out-of-school youth from all over the Philippines and the institution teaches them various skills such as carpentry, masonry, design, among others. These skills are further applied in conserving various heritage sites in the country.
These students have already managed to rehabilitate different infrastructures in Manila such as the site of of Raja Sulayman’s palisade, San Diego walkway, Casa Blanca walkway, Malate Church and Almacences Reales, among others. It has also been undertaking the establishment of Vigan Conservation Complex, the rehabilitation of the Rice Terraces in Ifugao, the restoration of colonial churches and bridges and the construction of socialized housing.
NCCA Chairman Felipe de Leon Jr. said that this partnership among NCCA, AECID, the Department of Social Welfare and Development, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority, City Government of Manila and IA proves that the Philippines and Spain continue to have strong ties.
He also said that Escuela Taller is a great project and it is “a very fortunate development in the Philippines because our cities are losing its identities because of the so-called globalization. And I hope that Escuela Taller, because of its strong conservation of culture and heritage, will be very helpful in restoring the character to the many cities of the country.”
Former Sen. Edgardo Angara, Sen. Sonny Angara and Sen. Loren Legarda, through her representative Salvacion Zaldivar-Perez, were also there during the signing of the agreement and will support the endeavors of Escuela Taller.