Cultural Properties Regulation Division



Mr. Angel P. Bautista, Acting Assistant Director and Chief Administrative Officer of the National Museum participated in the INTERPOL 10th International Symposium on the Theft of and Illicit Traffic in Works of Art, Cultural Properties and Antiquities held in Hanoi, Vietnam from October 14 to 20, 2018. This major event marked an important stride forward to enhance the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property at the global level; and was the first INTERPOL Works of Art event to be ever organized in Asia. It gave specialists from more than two hundred member countries a valuable opportunity to share their experience of cooperation in investigations and legal proceedings with regard to offenders involved in cases of cultural property trafficking.


The objectives of the symposium were the following:


  1. To draw attention to the current issues with regard to the theft, forgery / counterfeiting of and illicit traffic in works of art, cultural property and antiques;
  2. To present real cases faced by police forces in order to study methods to combat crimes committed against cultural heritage;
  3. To discuss methods and ideas enabling the international police community, together with other concerned agencies and organizations, to tackle this type of crime;
  4. To present means of safeguarding cultural property;
  5. To examine possible ways of assisting countries during crisis periods; and
  6. To study methods to combat the increasing trade in counterfeit art.


The host of the symposium was Mr. Corrado Catesi, Coordinator of Works of Art Unit, INTERPOL based in Italy. Lieutenant General Tran Van Ve, Director General of Office of the Investigation Police Agency, Ministry of Public Security, Vietnam, graced the opening ceremonies and delivered the opening and welcome remarks. Two hundred thirty-eight representatives from Europe, Africa, the Middle-East, Asia and the Pacific, Australia, and North and South America participated in the symposium.


Case studies and country experiences on theft, looting of archaeological and historical sites, illegal export, misdeclaration in Customs Office, forgery and various modus operandi in counterfeiting; and ways and means in protecting and safeguarding cultural property in Argentina, Austria, Cambodia, Cameroun, Kenya, Iraq, Israel, Germany, Tunisia, Syria, Yemen, Mali, Italy, Libya, Spain, Sweden, Fiji, Ghana, India, Latvia, Morocco, Mongolia, Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines and Romania were presented by INTERPOL or the Central Bureau, police force, museums and custom officials and officers.


In other sessions, the topics presented were UNESCO activities, efforts in combating the theft of art and antiques, protecting cultural heritage after disasters and in areas with armed conflict, role of humanitarians, terrorism, smuggling, destruction and looting of archaeological / historical and religious sites.


As the lone representative from the Philippines and an official of the National Museum which serves as a regulatory and enforcement agency of the Government, Mr. Bautista presented a paper titled “National Policy in Protecting Cultural Heritage in the Philippines”. Mr. Bautista focused his presentation on Philippine laws, role of the National Museum in protecting and safeguarding cultural properties, most common forms of illicit traffic in the country, preservation of cultural properties after natural disasters, bilateral agreements with other countries, INTERPOL coordination, sharing of database on missing and stolen artifacts and works of arts, and the need for ratification of international conventions. He also participated actively in the discussion on crime areas, policy issues, best practices and needs within the Asian region to combat transnational crime, specifically the illicit traffic in cultural property.


This symposium was a great opportunity for the National Museum to share experiences of cooperation in preventing illicit traffic in cultural property, specifically on 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 for the National Museum representative to learn from colleagues from different countries regarding their activities in the prevention of illicit traffic in cultural property. As the Chief of the Cultural Properties Regulation of the National Museum, Mr. Bautista has been involved in the prevention of illicit traffic in cultural property and had participated in INTERPOL activities in France, Manila, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.


Mr. Bautista is enjoined to conduct a similar conference and coordinate with concerned government agencies that will facilitate the ratification of the UNESCO 1970 Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property and the UNIDROIT Convention on Stolen or Illegally Exported Cultural objects (1995) by the Philippine Government.


Mr. Bautista and participants of the INTERPOL 10th International Symposium on the Theft and Illicit Traffic in Works of Arts, Cultural Properties and Antiquities


This page was last modified Tuesday, November 20, 2018
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