In celebration of 2021 History Month which has the adopted theme of “Celebrating #VictoryAndHumanity,” the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and the Local History Committees Network (LHCN) conducted a discussion, titled: “Talk with the Cultural Agencies,”. This event took place on August 11, 2021, via ZOOM. The event aimed to highlight the contribution of cultural agencies in preserving the Philippine history.

Mr. Victorino M. Manalo, the Executive Director of National Archives of the Philippines (NAP), joined the talk together with the heads of other cultural agencies in the country namely: National Museum of the Philippines, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, and National Library of the Philippines.

In his discussion, Mr. Manalo explained about the mandate of NAP including its core functions. He noted that NAP aimed to preserve primary sources of information as the basic components of the country’s cultural heritage. In fulfilment of its cultural function, NAP launched the Local Community Archives (LCA) program which was geared towards assisting communities to establish local archives by asking community groups to document their own experiences and identify grassroots resources for the writing of history.

Mr. Manalo also noted that NAP holds the largest Spanish documents in the country. He clarified however that the public is requested to work with digital copies of the records in the NAP collection. This is because most original records cannot be handled due to their fragility. Then again, there are legal constraints that prohibit NAP from sharing records with third parties.

Mr. Manalo also recognizes how the pandemic changed the world dramatically and how archives play a vital role in these changes. Archives must collect the evidence that attest to the many important events related to the global health emergency. This evidence will be of great value for future generations. Manalo also said that despite the pandemic, the NAP continues to conduct records management training, disaster preparedness training, and other records management activities. NAP has also launched its ERMP or Electronic Records Management Policy. The newly crafted ERMP will provide guidelines for the government sector in the shift from traditional paper records management to an electronic regime.