BAGUIO CITY – The city council requested Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan to arrange a schedule so that local officials will meet with representatives of concerned cultural agencies in order to solve the impasse in the marking, classification and declaration of heritage sites in the different parts of the city.
The local legislative body unanimously approved the move following the appearance of a representative from the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the umbrella organization of all cultural agencies in the country, who insinuated the need for the city government and concerned agencies to work together to preserve prospective heritage sites and landmarks in the city.
Edison Molanida, NCCA analyst, informed members of the city council that the Commission is empowered to stop projects that affect the integrity of heritage sites and marked structures once there is glaring threat to the alteration and modification of the existing heritage sites and landmarks.
Molanida, said in the case of Burnham Park as a heritage sites, the letter issued by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) informing the city government of the declaration of the park as a heritage site is short of the put up of the required NHCP marker which contents must be in coordination with the city government.
The council wants the local chief executive to immediately schedule the desired meeting with NHCP and NCCA officials in order to thresh out issues and concerns that cropped up in the marking of the city hall as a marked structure and the declaration of Burnham Park as a heritage site so that the same mistakes will not be repeated in future declarations in the future.
The projected meeting will be attended by local executives and members of the city council in order to address the legitimate questions being raised by city officials on the implementation of city funded projects in marked structures and declared heritage sites.
The council backtracked on its earlier request for the city government to submit all future development plans of city hall and Burnham Park to the NCCA and NHCP for review and evaluation prior to implementation because it will affect its position that projects outside the 5-meter buffer zone of marked structures are already exempted from the review and assessment of the concerned cultural agencies.
The council also wants to be educated on the coverage of built structures that are already marked like the city hall so that the local governments will be able to align their programs and projects pursuant to the conservation and protection of the marked structure from further damage in the future.
Molanida explained that what would be covered by the review powers of the NHCP and NCCA are projects programmed outside the structure but owners of the properties declared as heritage sites can introduce changes inside the structure provided that it will not distort its historical value.
He suggested that the submission of plans to the NCCA and NHCP for review must include the desired date of implementation to guide the Commission on their future actions that would not derail the implementation of projects within heritage sites and landmarks.
By Dexter A. See