City told to declare Cordillera House as local heritage

BAGUIO CITY  – The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) encouraged the local government to declare the Cordillera House as a local heritage and to provide an ordinance protecting it for posterity.

NHCP Chairperson Dr. Rene R. Escalante informed Atty. Christine Lovely E. Red, Director IV, Legal Affairs, Office of the Cabinet Secretary, that the Cordillera House is not listed in the NHCP registry of historic sites and structures.

Further, he pointed out that the historical value of the said structure is of a local level, thus, the need for the local government to institute the appropriate measures to declare the same as a local heritage.

Earlier, the Office of Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea transmitted to the NHCP Resolution No. 04-2017 of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club (BCBC) appealing to preserve the Cordillera House located along the Baguio-Boa-Itogon road and to maintain the Philippine Information Agency – Cordillera Administrative Region (PIA-CAR) as its custodian.

The Office of the Executive Secretary wants to construct a multi-storey structure in the area where the Cordillera House is erected to serve as its satellite office in the future, among other purposes, and for the PIA-CAR regional office to be relocated outside the said area.

The Cordillera House served as the official residence of Fr. Conrado Balweg who headed the Cordillera Bodong Administration (CBA) and the Cordillera Peoples Liberation Army (CPLA) after the signing of the historic Mount Data sipat, where both groups exchanged tokens with former President Corazon C. Aquino and resulted to the secession of the armed struggle in the region.

Various sectors around the region also joined the BCBC in making a last ditch effort to inform the Office of the Executive Secretary of the need to preserve and protect the Cordillera House as a heritage site, considering its importance in the realization of lasting peace in the region and the country as a whole.

The PIA-CAR is expected to vacate the Cordillera House on or before the end of this year to pave the way for the planned rehabilitation and upgrading, which will accommodate extension offices of the Executive Secretary and the Presidential Management Staff (PMS).

Even the Regional Development Council (RDC) in the Cordillera passed a resolution for the sustained preservation and protection of the Cordillera House as a heritage site and supported the continuous stay of the PIA-CAR office in the structure as a custodian of the government property.

Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said that the local government will study the NHCP recommendations, to be able to sustain the preservation and protection of the Cordillera House and its environs as a local heritage, to allow it to be maintained as such for the benefit of the present and future generations.

He added that he will refer the matter to the local legislative body for it to adopt whatever suitable ordinance that will be crafted for the purpose of its preservation and protection to serve as one of the heritage sites in the city.

By Dexter A. See

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