National Archives of the Philippines

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National Archives of the Philippines
Pambansang Sinupan ng Pilipinas
National Archives of the Philippines seal.png
Agency overview
Formed May 21, 2007 (2007-05-21)
  • Records Management and Archives Office
Headquarters National Library of the Philippines, Manila, Philippines
Coordinates: 14°34′55.37″N 120°58′51.73″E / 14.5820472°N 120.9810361°E / 14.5820472; 120.9810361
Annual budget 85,146,000 (2012)
Agency executive
  • Victorino Manalo, Director
Key document
  • Republic Act 9470

The National Archives of the Philippines (Tagalog: Pambansang Sinupan ng Pilipinas and abbreviated NAP) is an agency of the Republic of the Philippines mandated to collect, store, preserve and make available, archival records of the Government and other primary sources pertaining to the history and development of the Country. It is the primary records management agency, tasked to formulate and implement the records schedule and vital records protection programs for the government. The Archives as it is organized today was a result of the passage of Republic Act 9470 in 2007, but its roots can be traced back to at least the 19th Century when the Spanish colonial government in the Philippines established its Division of Archives.[1]


The nucleus of the institution was the Division of Archives, set up by the Spanish Colonial Government. In 1898, Spain ceded control of the Philippines to the United States of America through the Treaty of Paris. The ratification of the treaty paved way for the relinquishment of Philippine records in the Islands and in Spain to the new American government. Since then, the Archives was placed under the control of various government agencies. First, it was placed under the Executive Bureau as the Office of Archives in 1901.Within the same year, it was placed under the Department of Public Instruction. In 1915, it was transferred back to the Executive Bureau and was reduced to the Division of Archives, Patents, Copyrights, and Trademarks. The following year, this division was consolidated with the Philippine Library and Museum. In 1928, it became the Division of Archives under the renamed National Library.

The post-war period saw its transfer from the National Library to the Department of General Services. In 1958, President Carlos Garcia issued Executive Order no. 290 establishing the Bureau of Records Management under the said department with the responsibility to plan, develop, and coordinate government-wide programs, policies, rules, and regulations governing the use, storage, and disposition of current operating records of permanent or historical value. It was composed of three divisions namely Current Records Division, an Archives Division, and a Records Storage Division. It was the Archives Division which stored and rehabilitated records of permanent value and of historical interest.

The Bureau’s international linkages for the period were very much limited. Since it is within the American-patterned Department of General Services, its trainings were provided by the US Agency for International Development-National Economic Council. Three of its personnel were trained by UNESCO reprography expert Ramunajan Chari in 1968 on microfilming and archival documents reproduction through a mobile microfilm unit.[2] The Bureau was represented by its director, historian Domingo Abella, in the International Council of Archives and its Southeast Asian Branch (SARBICA).

It was elevated to an office in 1972, with the establishment of the Records Management and Archives Office (RMAO), which was placed under the General Administrative Administration. Since 1998, it is placed under the National Commission for Culture and the Arts for purposes of policy coordination.

In 2004, then Director Ricardo Manapat was accused of forging documents to support a disqualification case against Presidential candidate Fernando Poe, Jr. Three staff members of the Archives testified in a Senate inquiry that the Director had ordered them to fabricate a birth certificate to indicate that Poe was not a natural-born Filipino citizen. Manapat was cleared of the charges by the Sandiganbayan in 2005, but he already went on leave shortly before the Senate investigation started a year earlier. On May 21, 2007, more than a century since its establishment, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9470 that defined the various functions of the agency and formally renames it to become the country's National Archives.

Organization and Services[edit]

The National Archives conducts the National Inventory of Records and Archives and maintains the General Records Schedule of the Government. Aside from its Records Management and Reference Services, it provides Technical Assistance and Continuing Education services to the general public. The Archives is headed by an Executive Director, informally called the National Archivist of the Philippines. The current Director is Victorino Manalo, appointed by President Benigno Aquino in 2012.

  • Office of the Executive Directo
  • Office of the Deputy Executive Director
  • Finance and Administrative Division
  • Archives Preservation Division
  • Archives Collection and Access Division
  • Records Center Division
  • Records Management Services Division
  • Training and Information Division

The Archives is currently headquartered in the National Library of the Philippines and maintains offices and facilities in Paco, Manila, Cebu, and Davao.


In the Archive's holdings are 13 million Spanish-era documents and another 60 million cataloged public documents.[3] The holdings is divided into two major collections:

  • Spanish Period Collection (1552–1900)
    • Documents
    • Plans
  • American and Republic Period Collection (1900–Present)
    • Government Agencies
    • Civil Records
    • Notarial Documents
    • Japanese War Crime Records
    • Cattle Brands

Aside from the records of defunct government agencies, the National Archives also houses the records of colleges and universities closed by the Commission on Higher Education. Notably, the Archives does not keep a large portion of the Katipunan records, including the Philippine Declaration of Independence, which are currently kept by the National Library of the Philippines in its Philippine Insurgency Records collection.


  1. ^ "Republic Act No. 9470: National Archives of the Philippines Act of 2007". Retrieved 27 September 2012. 
  2. ^ Department of General Services, The Department of General Services: its background, studies and plans as of June 30, 1970 (Quezon City: The author, 1970), 13-14.
  3. ^ "Profile: National Archives of the Philippines". Retrieved 27 September 2012.