BAGUIO CITY – The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) enjoined the city government to refraim from undertaking any development work or changes within the city hall building and grounds until the Commission shall have approved the plans for the fencing and ground improvement project.
In a letter to Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan, Dr. Maria Serena I. Diokno, NHCP Chairperson, explained the city hall and areas surrounding the building such as the parking and flagpole areas are included in the building landscape and therefore form part of the city hall property.
She disclosed the city hall bares an NHCP marker that was installed sometime in February 2009 under the old law and is therefore a heritage and historical building.
However, Section 8 of Republic Act (RA) 10066 or the new law for the protection of heritage and historical sites provides that if a heritage site or historical landmark has been declared as such under the old law, there is a need to confirm the same through the petition of the owner with the subsequent conduct of consultations with the affected stakeholders prior to the formal declaration of the areas as heritage sites or historical landmarks.
“The fencing and improvement of the city hall grounds would be acceptable provided they do not construct the view and prominence of the structure and enhance the overall architectural integrity of the site,” Diokno said.
On the other hand, Diokno disclosed she understands the plan for a parking areas in Burnham Park is still in the conceptual stage and that no commercial structure will be constructed in the Melvin Jones football field.
The NHCP official also enjoined the city government not to conduct any public bidding whatsoever in relation to the development of Burnham Park without the Commission’s approval of the plans.
By Dexter A. See