Cultural Properties Regulation Division



The National Museum (NM) hosted the 2019 INTERPOL Workshop: Fighting the Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property at the National Museum of Natural History from April 25 to 26, 2019. Organized by the INTERPOL Emerging Crime Directorate, Works of Art Unit , the Philippine Center for Transnational Crime INTERPOL NCB Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), Office of the Special Envoy on Transnational Crime (OSETC), and the Cultural Properties Regulation Division of the National Museum (NM), the workshop was participated by sixty (60) representatives from law enforcing agencies, cultural institutions, universities, local government units, museum, and auction house. The INTERPOL, PCTC, OSETC and the NM are the driving force behind this International Workshop on the Prevention of Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property; and they are committed and strong partners in protecting and preserving the cultural heritage of the country.


The opening remarks were delivered by Mr. Angel P. Bautista, Acting Assistant Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the NM. Messages were also given by Mr. Lawrence Charles Salazar representing the National Commission for Culture and the Arts; Ambassador Bruce Concepcion, the Chairman of the Office of Special Envoy on Transnational Crime; and Mr. Cerrado Catesi, representing the INTERPOL.


The workshop served as the venue to discuss the value of protecting cultural heritage and preventing the illicit traffic in cultural property not only in the Philippines but the whole world. This workshop specifically aims to foster actions against this crime as well as to demonstrate how INTERPOLís capabilities can best support member countries in accordance with the United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 and 2743 / 17. Major themes and ideas in the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property were raised during the two-day workshop, focusing on more operational matters on the second day, especially on how to use the upgraded version of the INTERPOL Stolen Works of Art Database, and on presenting INTERPOLís upcoming tools.


Mr. Bautista presented a lecture on Protecting the Filipino Heritage. He focused his presentation on Philippine Laws, cultural property, mandates of government agencies, safeguarding cultural property, most common forms of illicit traffic in cultural property, prevention of illicit traffic, strategy / action plan to protect cultural property in cases of natural disasters and armed conflict, international cooperation and international conventions for the protection of cultural heritage. Ms. Raquel Flores, Supervising Administrative Officer of the CPRD-NM presented the International Council of Museums (ICOM) Code of ethics in acquiring, collecting, conserving, maintaining and recording cultural properties. Representing the Philippine National Police, PMAJ Hector Tanio presented the procedures of filing case on illicit trafficking in cultural property.


Mr. Cerrado Catesi, INTERPOL Coordinator together Mr. Paolo Pellegrino presented the following topics to the participants:


  1. Illicit Traffic in cultural property and INTERPOL capabilities
  2. United Nations Security Council Resolutions 2199 /15 and 2347 / 2017 and INTERPOL activities in this field
  3. Internet and cultural objects: Difficulties in investigating sales
  4. Forgeries of cultural objects
  5. INTERPOL standard operating procedures
  6. Case study: Operation Gemini
  7. Introduction to the INTERPOL stolen works of arts database
  8. Purple Notices
  9. International available tools
  10. Future INTERPOL capabilities


A practical session was held where all participants learned to document object using the INTERPOL tools.


The closing remarks was given by Assistant Secretary Pelagio U Samson Jr., Philippine Center for Transnational Crime.


This major event is the second INTERPOL Workshop on Prevention of the Illicit Traffic in Cultural Property organized in the Philippines; and considered an important stride forward to enhance the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property at the global level.


This workshop was a great opportunity for all participants to share experiences of cooperation in preventing illicit traffic in cultural property, specifically on illegal transport, looting of archaeological sites, thefts from places of worship and safeguarding of cultural heritage during and after crisis or calamity periods. Likewise, it was an opportunity to learn from colleagues from different institutions regarding their activities in the prevention of illicit traffic in cultural property.


This page was last modified Tuesday, April 30, 2019
National Museum of the Philippines
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