Pia wants Senate probe of Torre de Manila

Posted at 08/07/14 3:04 PM

MANILA - Senator Pia Cayetano wants the Senate to look into the controversial construction of a condominium behind the monument of Jose Rizal in Luneta Park, Manila.

Heritage advocates have expressed opposition to the construction of the high-rise condominium Torre de Manila since it threatens to ruin the sightline to the country's iconic historical monument.

"The Rizal Park and Monument is regarded not only as an artistic and cultural icon and famous tourist site, but a sacred site, as well as an important symbol of our national hero and the freedom he fought for," Cayetano, chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture, said in a statement.

In Senate Resolution No. 824 which she filed on Wednesday, Cayetano emphasized the need to review laws and policies governing the preservation of national and historical sites.

"Rizal Park is not just a site where Jose Rizal was shot and where his remains are interred, it has [also] been witness to momentous events in our history," the resolution read.

The Manila City government has said it allowed the project's developers, DMCI Homes, to resume the construction of Torre de Manila because it can help boost the city's economy.

Manila Councilor Joel Chua, chairman of the Oversight Committee of the Manila City council, said the taxes the city will earn from the condominium project can help in paying Manila's debts.

But according to Cayetano, government is mandated to protect and preserve the country's historic sites and national-cultural treasures.

She cited Article XIV, Section 15 of the Constitution, which says that, "The State shall conserve, promote, and popularize the nation's historical and cultural heritage and resources, as well as artistic creations."

She also cited Republic Act No. 4846, also known as the "Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act," and Republic Act No. 10066, known as the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

RA 10066 lays down guidelines for local government units (LGUs) in maintaining a heritage zone, including the preservation of the "appearance of streets, parks, monuments...as close to their appearance at the time the area was of most importance to Philippine history as determined by the National Historical Institute."