The National Archives of the Philippines (NAP) joined the celebration of the 53rd founding anniversary of the Southeast Asia Regional Branch of the International Council on Archives (SARBICA) with the theme, “Empowering Archives: Sweet and bitter.” 


Through an online seminar organized by SARBICA on July 9, 2021, the NAP together with other SARBICA members shared their efforts and initiatives as Archives Institutions during the COVID-19 pandemic. SARBICA was established on July 9, 1968, at an inaugural conference held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and has helped foster the professional relationship between archival institutions within the Southeast Asian region. 


The seminar aims to spread awareness on the importance of Archives in documenting real-life events, especially today that the world is facing a common challenge, the global pandemic. Mr. Victorino M. Manalo, NAP’s Executive Director, and SARBICA’s Chairperson said that the Philippines is fortunate to have been part of SARBICA since its inception 53 years ago, especially because SARBICA members have always worked together in the spirit of unity and cooperation. 


Mr. Manalo also urged all Southeast Asian countries to continue being united to overcome the hurdles brought by the pandemic. This call was also echoed by Mrs. Nor Masitirena Binti Haji Suhaini, the Acting Director of Museums Department, National Archives of Brunei Darussalam where she also said that documenting today’s real-life events will be vital for the future. 


Mrs. Nor Masitirena said that because the pandemic has changed the world like no other event in history, it is important to explore opportunities in this dramatic unexpected turn of events and to capture today by empowering archives through the help of all archival institutions. 


“The future remains unknown, our main goal is to document and to capture the pandemic, today for future references and generations,” she added further. 


Similarly, Mr. Remmel G. Talabis, Officer-in-Charge of Archives Preservation Division of NAP agreed that the future generation will benefit from documenting today’s events, though he admitted that this is not an easy task.