The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (Filipino: Pambansang Komisyong Pangkasaysayan ng Pilipinas, abbreviated NHCP) is a government agency of the Philippines. Its mission is "the promotion of Philippine history and cultural heritage through research, dissemination, conservation, sites management and heraldry works." As such, it "aims to inculcate awareness and appreciation of the noble deeds and ideals of our heroes and other illustrious Filipinos, to instill pride in the Filipino people and to rekindle the Filipino spirit through the lessons of history."
The present day NHCP was established in 1972 as part of the reorganization of government after President Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of martial law, but the roots of the institute can be traced back to 1933, when the American colonial Insular Government first established the Philippine Historical Research and Markers Committee (PHRMC).
Philippine Historical Research and Markers Committee (1933)
The Philippine Historical Research and Markers Committee was created by U.S. Governor General Frank Murphy, by Executive Order 451, to identify and mark "historic antiquities" in Manila as a first step towards their preservation. Church of San Agustin, Fort Santiago, Plaza McKinley, Roman Catholic Cathedral of Manila, San Sebastian Church, Concordia College, Manila Railroad Company, Dr. Lorenzo Negrao, and University of Santo Tomas (Intramuros site) were among the first structures to be granted markers. The installation of markers were first limited to identify antiquities in Manila; however, the commission's mandate was later expanded to cover the whole of the Philippines. Many markers were destroyed or lost due to World War II, along with the structures they represent, and many have been replaced by post-war markers.
This first committee was composed of American journalist Walter Robb who served as chair; American Anthropologist H. Otley Beyer who would later be known as the father of Philippine Anthropology; Spanish Jesuit Fr. Miguel Selga, SJ; dean Edward Hyde from the University of the Philippines College of Engineering; and Filipinos Jaime C. de Veyra, Conrado Benitez, and Eulogio “Amang” Rodriguez.
Philippines Historical Committee (1935)
With the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth in 1935, the PHRMC was replaced by the Philippines Historical Committee (PHC), which took over the functions as its predecessor, as well as the tasks of repairing government-owned antiquities and acquiring antiquities owned by private individuals. There are no known records of the activities of the committee during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II.
In the postwar reconstruction years the PHC was busy as there was a government interest in "the reconstruction of the past as a means to form nationhood." Reconstituted six months after Philippine independence in 1946, the committee was first placed under the Office of the President, and then transferred to the Department of Education. During this time, it installed over 400 historical markers all over the archipelago; named and renamed various streets, plazas, towns and other public places; and acquired places and relics of heroes.
As the nation rebuilt itself, a number of other historical commissions were also created by law to commemorate the birth centennials of various Philippine heroes of the late 19th century. All of these commissions were eventually merged into one National Heroes Commission created in 1963.
National Historical Commission (1965)
In 1965, Congress passed Republic Act No. 4368 that created the National Historical Commission and effectively abolished the Philippine Historical Committee and the National Heroes Commission whose functions were delegated to the NHC. Among the functions of the NHC are the following: to publish or cause to have written or published the works of our national heroes and other great and good Filipinos; to compile from various sources here and abroad data on Philippine history and prepare and publish there from source books on Philippine history; to identify, designate and approximately mark historic places in the Philippines and to cause the construction or reconstruction and to maintain and care for national monuments, shrines and historic markers that have been erected; to take charge of all historical activities or projects not otherwise undertaken by any entity of the government; to gather data on historical dates, personages, events, and documents presented for evaluation, and to acquire through purchase, donation, exchange or otherwise, important historical documents and materials; and to encourage researches in Philippine history and the writing and publication of textbooks on the subject, the research and writing of biographies of heroes, accounts of historical events, translations of important scholarly works of Filipinos and foreigners by providing appropriate or adequate incentives.
National Historical Institute (1972)
In 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos' declaration of martial law resulted in a reorganization of government and the renaming of the NHC as the National Historical Institute.
National Historical Commission of the Philippines (2010)
On May 12, 2010, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed the law reverting the National Historical Institute into its original form as the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
The NHCP still undertakes all the functions of the previous commissions, most notably those of preserving historical sites and structures and serving as lead agency for the commemorations of Independence Day, Rizal Day.
- Historical markers issued by the NHCP and its predecessors
- Rene R. Escalante, PhD-Chairperson
- Abraham Sakili, PhD-Member (Department of Art Studies, UP Diliman)
- Fe Buenaventura-Mangahas, PhD-Member (Retired Professor, UP Diliman)
- Rene R. Escalante, PhD-Member (De La Salle University)
- Cesar Gilbert Q. Adriano-Member (Director, National Library)
- Victorino M. Manalo-Member (Director, National Archives)
- Jeremy Robert M. Barns-Member (Director, National Museum)
- Ludovico D. Badoy-Member (Executive Director, National Historical Commission of the Philippines)
Research, Publications, and Heraldry Division
- Conducts researches on Philippine history and prepares biographies of heroes, write-ups on historical events, and translation into English and Filipino of important scholarly works;
- Publishes important scholarly works on history;
- Provides research services to the public through the maintenance of a historical data bank and Resource Center;
- Identifies and marks places of historical significance including historical figures with appropriate historical markers;
- Prepares all specifications governing the manufacture of heraldic items and devices and supervises the manufacture of these heraldic items and devices including the implementation of the provisions of RA 8491 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations governing national flag specifications; and
- Evaluates heraldic items and devices as to conformity to government standards.
Historic Sites and Education Division
- Administration and maintenance of national shrines and landmarks in order to perpetuate the memory and emulate the patriotic deeds of our heroes;
- Commemoration of birth and death anniversaries of national heroes and illustrious Filipinos;
- Commemoration of milestone historical events with national significance and encouragement of public awareness on the importance of these events;
- Operation of shrines and landmarks as resource centers and conduits between national government agencies and local government units, non-government agencies, civic organizations and stakeholders;
- Conduct of historical educational activities such as lectures, seminars, exhibits, workshops, patriotic tours, video showing, historic-cultural contests and learning sessions in accordance with the Philippine Cultural Education Plan;
- Preparation of educational materials such as press releases, feature articles and short essays on activities at NHI shrines and landmarks, historical events, sites and eminent personages to help popularize Philippine history in the mass media and other venues;
- Organization and strengthening of various historical committees and associations (i.e. provincial, city, municipal, institutional, etc.) private or public, as active partners in the dissemination of significant historical events and personalities at the grass roots level.
Historic Preservation Division
- Undertakes the conservation, preservation, restoration, and development of the historic sites and structures declared as national shrines, monuments and landmarks, including other historic edifices and ancestral houses registered in the National Registry of Historic Structures in the Philippines;
- Undertakes physical restoration and preservation treatment of historical (material) objects using specialized skills of examination and material analyses, and the application of scientific methods of treatment and research;
- Surveys, inventories, identifies, classifies and registers historic sites and structures, and maintains the National Registry of Historic Structures pursuant to P.D. No. 260, S. 1973. (see Annex B1)
- Implements the Philippines’ National Historic Act (P.D. No. 1505 S. 1978), for the protection of historic sites and structures nationwide; (see Annex B2)
- Provides technical assistance to/collaborates with Government Organizations involved in the study and preservation of historic sites and structures; and,
- Recommends policies on the development, preservation and restoration of historic places and edifices;
- Performs such other functions consistent with NHI’s institutional mandate and existing laws.
Materials Research Conservation Division
- To undertake and prescribe the manner of restoration, conservation and protection of the country’s historical and immovable objects;
- To shall provide consultancy services to collectors of historical objects that are considered valuable components of Filipino heritage to ensure that preservation, restoration and conservation techniques and procedures are in accordance with the accepted international standards set in protecting historical objects and materials; and
- To enrich and update knowledge on restoration and preservation techniques through scientific research and establishing linkages between the Philippines and various international bodies engaged in the scientific preservation of historical and cultural objects.
Finance and Administrative Division
- Extends support services to all the operating divisions and the Office of the Chairman, members of the NHI Board and the Executive Director; and
- Provides management with the necessary financial information in order to help the other operating divisions in planning, directing and coordinating their programs, projects and activities.
Coordinates: 14°34′52.48″N 120°58′42.39″E / 14.5812444°N 120.9784417°E