Signage of the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help more commonly known as Baclaran Church (Kadayawan, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons)

Following the announcement of the National Museum of the Philippines that Baclaran Church is an “important cultural property” (ICP), a bill has been filed in the Senate seeking to declare the church and its premises a heritage site and tourist destination.

In a statement, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada said he filed Senate Bill No. 2278 to make Baclaran Church, also known as the Redemptorist Church and formally known as the National Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help, a heritage site since it has become a part of Catholic Filipinos’ spiritual life and tradition.

“This declaration aims to institutionalize a policy that will preserve its historical and sociocultural importance, ensuring the accessibility, convenience, and security of its numerous visitors through the construction, installation, and maintenance of appropriate facilities and infrastructure in the area,” Estrada explained.

Once the Redemptorist church and its premises are declared a  heritage site, relevant government agencies like the Department of Tourism (DoT), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH), and the local government unit (LGU) of Parañaque will develop a tourism development plan for the site.

Under Estrada’s bill, the funding for the national shrine’s tourism development plan will be part of the Parañaque LGU’s budget while DoT will provide assistance in empowering its tourism and promoting the church on a national and regional scale.

Since the Baclaran Church is an ICP, the church may now receive government subsidies for its preservation and conservation, Estrada added.  —  Xander Lauren Cipriano