Capitol rehab soon but gov wants under- ground parking area

>> Monday, November 7, 2016

BONTOC, Mountain Province – The long delayed decision of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines over the demolished half of the provincial capitol is over.
The agency has opted for reconstruction of the demolished half part of the capitol and to restore the intact portion, meaning the other half.
Gov. Bonifacio Lacwasan, Jr., in an interview Wednesday said he was amenable to recommendation of the NHCP for reconstruction of demolished portion into 2-storey building as before.
However, he would like to propose an underground level will be dug to serve as parking area.
He said he will propose to the NHCP dismantling and reconstruction of the existing half building so  the provincial capitol would be constructed new but with the façade of the old capitol integrated.
He revealed that former governor Jaime Gomez had visited him twice and was amenable to his proposal.
He said Gomez reiterated construction of the 2-storey building with all the old façade copied and integrated into the design of the new building.
Lacwasan said a meeting between him and NHCP Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno has been scheduled on Nov. 29.
He will be going to Manila to try to negotiate for his concerns.
Earlier in a letter dated Oct. 17, 2016, Diokno informed Lacwasan of the desire of the NHCP to resolve the long-standing matter of the cease and desist order on the provincial capitol.
“Since you have not replied to our letter of 26 September 2016 requesting the proposed restoration plan, our decision is to reconstruct the demolished parts of the old capitol building and restore the intact portion,” stated the letter.
It directed the provincial government to as soon as possible submit reconstruction plan of the demolished portion and the restoration plan of the intact portion.
“Once we approve the plans, we will lift the cease and desist order.”
The action of the agency may have been facilitated by initiatives of Rep. Maximo Dalog who has intended to talk about the matter in plenary during the budget hearing of the NHCP at the House of Representatives on Sept. 27, 2016.
In a conference between Dalog and Diokno in the presence of this writer, it was cited the demolished portion remains an eyesore for the public.
Dalog urged the NHCP to hasten processes in resolving the “seeming impasse” for the good of the people, the provincial government, and preservation of the cultural heritage.
In a letter to Diokno dated Oct. 6, 2016, Dalog said it is the mandate of the agency to determine the manner of restoration of “important cultural properties” as provided under Republic Act 10086, Section 5, which states (C) “undertake and prescribe the manner of restoration, conservation, and protection of the country’s historical movable and immovable objects”.
The same law states power and functions of the NHCP Board, under Section 7 (D) “to determine the manner of identification, maintenance, restoration, conservation, and preservation of historical sites, shrines, structures and monuments.”
Justifying his appeal for a decision and action, the same letter stated the provincial government and those opposed the demolition have already brought to the attention of agency their sentiments and positions on the matter.
On Sept. 13, 2011 the NHCP recommended three options for the provincial government to choose from. 
But half of the capitol was demolished sometime in 2013 without the approval of the agency.
A cease and desist order was later issued by the NHCP effectively stopping further demolition works.
Years passed and the CDO was never lifted even if the Sangguniang Panlalawigan and Sangguniang Bayans of municipalities passed resolutions urging lifting of the CDO.
Dalog said Option No. 1 was the win-win solution acceptable to all stakeholders as it will grant the whims of those who want to construct a new provincial capitol building and at the same time preserve its original state to the contentment of those opposed to its demolition.

Option No. 1 states “Preserve the building shell and reconstruct the interior with reinforced concrete or steel framework. This will need prior approval of the architectural design by the NHCP and extensive photo-documentation before, during, and after intervention.”


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