"Saving our Vanishing Heritage," a Global Heritage Fund report. Photo from Globalheritagefund.org.
Intramuros and Fort Santiago are facing "irreversible loss and damage," along with over 200 heritage sites in developing countries, Inquirer.net cited from a Global Heritage Fund (GHF) report. Both Manila landmarks are suffering from insufficient management and developmental pressures, according to the GHF's "Saving Our Vanishing Heritage" released recently.
"The City of Manila has been positioning itself to regain control of Intramuros (currently managed by the Intramuros Authority and Department of Tourism) without providing a specific statement as to why they want to become its caretakers again," the report said. "There is rampant speculation that the city wishes to capitalize on Intramuros' real estate potential, replacing the heritage and history with high rises and malls."
The GHF report also mentioned the opening of major food chains like Starbucks and McDonald's inside Intramuros, plus the conversion of the Walled City's old moats into a golf course.
"If nothing is done to properly assert Intramuros' right to preserve its rich heritage, there is a strong likelihood that it will be soon overrun by rampant commercialism. If indeed this happens, the efforts to rebuild this jewel of Manila after its destruction in World War II would have been in vain," the GHF report said. It also mentioned the site's "shabby-looking interiors and poor lighting (that may cause) tourists to steer clear of (Intramuros) due to safety concerns."
The GHF, a non-profit organization, came up with the list of sites after surveying over 1,600 accounts on the conservation of major areas in developing countries. From the accounts published between 2000 and 2009, the GHF identified "five manmade threats: development pressures, unsustainable tourism, insufficient management, looting, and war and conflict," reports Inquirer.net.