ICCROM is participating in a UNESCO joint expert mission from 2 to 12 December 2013 to Manila and the central Visayas to assist the Philippines in assessing the situation and damage caused by the recent natural disasters. The mission will assess areas hit by the Bohol earthquake of 15 October 2013 as well as those areas affected by typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) of early November 2013.  The mission is led by the Philippine National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA). 

The goal of the joint mission is to identify immediate needs and emergency safeguarding measures, as well as medium-term interventions that would be needed for rehabilitation and recovery.  Three experts are included in the mission – one on immovable heritage with a special focus on structural consolidation, and one on intangible heritage and psycho-social impacts, while the ICCROM expert’s focus is on museums and collections.

Representatives from the National Museum, the National Historical Commission, the UNESCO National Commission (UNACOM) as well as the Catholic Bishops' Conference (CBCP) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites National Committee (ICOMOS Philippines) attended a briefing meeting for the mission.  Folio documentation by NCCA of damage to churches and historical edifices was a working document at that meeting. 

The mission will give particular attention to assessing how to rebuild the historic churches of the area according to the traditional techniques.  Since the churches have functioned as the center of the community, the plans will aim to involve the local populace in restoration or rebuilding of the churches.