BAGUIO CITY – Local officials and representatives of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) agreed that the city hall was never officially declared as a heritage site but it was only marked as a marked structure because of its historical significance to the city being the seat of government among others.
Arch. Veronica A. Dado, Deputy Executive Director for Programs of the NHCP, informed Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan that the NHCP has not yet officially declared city hall as a heritage site considering the absence of a formal resolution from the Commission but it was only marked as a historical structure in recognition of its historical significance to the city, citing that there are still rules and procedures that must be followed prior to its official declaration as a national shrine, national monument or national landmark.
Dado and some NHCP personnel were in the city to conduct an inspection on the fencing and improvement projects being done within the city hall grounds for the assessment and evaluation of NHCP officials in order for them to come out with their stand on the matter.
Domogan personally handed to DAD and his team the complete set of plans for the fencing and improvements of the city hall grounds that have a total project cost of P11.7 million which is expected to be completed in a period of 150 days, citing that the project is aimed at securing the city hall premises and providing adequate spaces for the conduct of programs and for the put up of a museum that will house important artifacts related to the history of the city.
Initially, Arch. Dado assessed that it seems there is no problems with the fencing plans because it does not obstruct the view of the city hall while she made observations on the need to replace the lamps with antiquated materials to sustain the maintenance of the premises that should be made of antique and indigenous materials.
Dado’s meeting with Mayor Domogan was attended by Councilor Peter Fianza, who is the chairman of the city council committee on education, culture and historical research.
Earlier, Dr. Maria Serena Diokno, NHCP chairperson, wrote Mayor Domogan to submit the plans for the city hall fencing and improvement project for assessment and evaluation and enjoined the city government to refraim from pursuing any development work in the area.
However, based on the initial assessment of Arch. Dado’s team, the project seems to improve and conserve the state of the city hall grounds, thus, they will immediately make their findings and recommendations so as not to delay the completion of the works that started last March.
Domogan expressed his gratitude to Arch. Dado and her team for personally visiting the city hall fencing and ground improvement project for them to validate the veracity of the obviously exaggerated reports being submitted by his critics to the NHCP in order for the Commission to issue an order stopping the project with the wrong information, saying that it is still best for the city government and the NHCP to closely work together in sustaining the preservation and protection of heritage sites and historical landmarks in the city.
In the case of the NHCP’s request for Mayor Domogan to submit the parking plans of Burnham Park to the Commission for review, the local chief executive informed Arch. Dado and her team that there is nothing to submit to the NHCP because there are not approved parkin plans for the park as of this time.
“There are no approved plans yet so what will we submit to the NHCP,” Domogan told Arch. Dado during the meeting.
He reminded the NHCP to look into their decision declaring Burnham Park as a heritage site because the city government and the tourism department that owns the property were not actually consulted on the matter, saying that the declaration must also pass through the prescribed rules and regulations.
Under the existing rules, there are two levels in the determination of heritage sites and historical landmarks, level 1 is the declaration of heritage sites fully covered by a resolution from the concerned cultural agencies while level 2 is simply the presence of a NHCP marker indicating that it is a marked structure or landmark.
Dado assured Mayor Domogan that the NHCP will come out with its findings and recommendations on the city hall fencing and ground improvement plans the soonest in order not to affect the project implementation.
By Dexter A. See