BAGUIO CITY – Various sectors in the city expressed their support to the enactment of an ordinance declaring Malcolm Square a heritage zone for this historical, natural, cultural, educational, aesthetic ad economic value to the city’s rich history.
Dr. Ronaldo Paraan, president of the Baguio Heritage Foundation, said Malcolm Square was included in the list of sites in the city that were proposed to be declared as heritage sites through the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) two years ago and the enactment of the ordinance would be timely and will support their long overdue initiative.
He said the passage of the ordinance will definitely cut short the tedious process of declaring a certain area in the city as a heritage zone because the declaration of the area as a heritage zone is considered to be timely and appropriate.
For her part, Dr. Rowena Boquiren, a retired instructor of the University of the Philippines Baguio and representative of the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), said there is nothing wrong in declaring Malcolm Square a heritage zone because what is currently happening in the area as a convergence site of people clearly illustrates what had been happening in the past whereby it was a common gathering place for people visiting various public places in the city, citing that the proposal must pass through the consultative process defined under existing rules and regulations in declaring certain areas as heritage zones.
She underscored the importance of consulting stakeholders in the area to gather their inputs prior to the declaration of Malcolm Square as a heritage zone because it will form part of the pieces of evidence to be presented to the Commission which will eventually decide if it is proper to declare the area a heritage zone.
Rhoda Galangco of the St. Louis University Research Department pointed out the challenge for the local government is how to bring back the natural aesthetics of the area considering the existence of various structures that were built for commercial purposes, citing that the declaration of Malcolm Square as a heritage zone deserves utmost support.
The City Council invited resource persons from the government and private sectors to get their inputs on addressing issues surrounding the enactment of the pending ordinance declaring Malcolm Square as a heritage zone authored by Councilor Elmer Datuin.
Datuin said initial consultations were made with the building owners around the Malcolm Square and they were supportive and receptive to the idea of declaring the area as a heritage zone because they are aware of the value of the area to the people of the city.
Boquiren warned local officials that once the Malcolm Square area is declared a heritage zone, it would be difficult to introduce unnecessary improvements in the area and the structures located within its environs because the local government or private property owners must secure the approval of the NHCP for such purposes.
Old photographs of the Malcolm Square area during the early years of the city show that there was a bridge connecting this to the public market where people pass to transact business then go back to the area to meet with friends and spend time in the convergence area.
By Dexter A. See