BAGUIO CITY – The National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) ordered contending parties on the P11.7 million city hall fencing and ground improvement project to appear before the designated hearing officer to argue their respective positions on the issued cease and desist order (CDO) over the project on Tuesday, June 23, 2015, 2 pm, at the NCCA headquarters in Intramoros, Manila.
In a notice of hearing handed down by the NCCA, lawyer George Ahmed G. Paglinawan, NCCA hearing officer, directed the city government and the Baguio Heritage Foundation to submit their respective positin papers in triplicate before the scheduled hearing for the appreciation of the concerned officials and the parties involved in the case.
Earlier, the city government already filed its motion to lift CDA before the Commission before the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) issued its no objection letter to the planned city hall fencing and ground improvement project.
NHCP interposed no objection to the P11.7 million city hall fencing and ground improvement projects after the conduct of a thorough study on the plans and programs of work submitted by the city government to the cultural agency upon the Commission’s request.
In her letter dated 21 May 2015 to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan which was just received by the City Mayor’s Office on June 15, 2015, Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, NHCP Chairperson, stated ‘upon ocular inspection and review of your development plans by our architects, the perimeter fence is acceptable because it made of see-true grills whose purpose is to secure the city hall premises from vandals, intruders and looters.”
Further, Diokno cited based on the assessments of the NHCP architects, the perimeter fence does not obstruct the view of the city hall which would be in conformity with the provisions of Republic Act (RA) 10066 otherwise known as the National Heritage Act.
“The improvement of the flagpole area, which includes the construction of a mini museum/stage below it does not obstruct the dominance and prominence of the city hall building,” Diokno stressed.
However, Diokno added should there be any changes or additional improvements in the area of the Baguio city hall, she requested the city government to coordinate with the NHCP to avoid any misunderstanding or confusion.
She claimed the NHCP also looks forward to receiving the city government’s request that the NHCP declare the cit6y hall area a national historical landmark since such declaration would entail the identification of the buffer zone and guidelines that will protect and preserve the landmark and that the same must be contained in a city ordinance.
It can be recalled that when the city legal office filed the city government’s petition to lift the earlier cease and desist order issued by the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the CDO had no official docket in the Commission that means that it was rushly issued to suit the interest of several interest groups in the city.
Moreover, legal officers from the city also found out that there was no finding of premafaci evidence that would prove that the city hall fencing and ground improvement projects would affect the city hall’s architectural integrity and obstruct the view of the building which is a marked structure under Level 2 classification. By Dexter A. See