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08 October 2012

Philippines hosts INTERPOL workshop on the prevention of illicit trafficking in cultural property

MANILA, Philippines – More than 80 participants from a range of Philippine government agencies, police and customs services, cultural institutions and the private sector attended a workshop on the prevention of illicit trafficking of cultural property, jointly organized by the INTERPOL General Secretariat and the Philippine National Museum with the support of the Philippine National Police.

The three-day course (1-3 October) covered a range of topics, including international legal instruments, types of cultural property particularly at risk of theft and illicit trafficking, specific working methods and investigation techniques, including the effective use of INTERPOL’s tools and services, with participants conducting practical exercises using INTERPOL’s stolen works of art database through its public online access.

In addition to local experts and specialists from the General Secretariat’s Works of Art Unit, law enforcement officials from Switzerland, Italy, the United States of America and Vietnam, as well as UNESCO’s office in Bangkok also shared their experience with the participants.

Executive Director of the Philippine Center on Transnational Crime, and representing the INTERPOL National Central Bureau in Manila, Mr Felizardo M Serapio Jr welcomed the organization of this workshop as an excellent initiative. "We shall pursue our efforts in capacity building both in the Philippines and the region in order to better protect our cultural heritage and to combat its illicit trafficking more effectively", he said.

The organization of this workshop in the Philippines, currently considering accession to the 1970 UNESCO Convention (Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural, Property), was funded by the Swiss government whose Embassy in Manila provided significant logistical support.