Mayor Isko Moreno Shares What the City of Manila Is Doing to Save Heritage Structures

Including the San Sebastian Basilica.

(SPOT.ph) As long as a building is certified as a heritage structure by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, it will be protected by the local government, says Manila Mayor Isko Moreno. “Get a certification from the National Historical Commission (NHCP) that you are a heritage site. Without it, you don’t fall under that category. We don’t [allow] demolition until there’s clearance from the National Historical Commission,” the mayor said in a video conference with editors from Summit Media.

Heritage

In January, heritage groups along with the Order of Augustinian Recollects and San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation started the #SaveSanSebastian campaign online, calling for support for the basilica’s restoration and protection from construction in nearby areas.

“Our problem is more than a photobomber. Under the #SaveSanSebastian campaign, the Foundation focuses on the need to protect the architectural and structural integrity of the Basilica and the surrounding homes in the neighborhood—both of which directly affect the lives of the residents. Again, it's the community and their safety that is at the heart of this issue, which guide the decisions made by the team alongside the data of our engineers and architects,” the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation said in a statement.

In the basilica’s case, the required certification from the NHCP has not been produced. “[As long as] nobody is violating any rules in protecting heritage, they may do business in Manila,” said the mayor. But doing business also requires responsibility, he added. “Katulad no’n katabi sila, lagi namin sinasabihan, ‘O binigyan kayo ng permiso nung araw, but you have to follow some precautionary measures that protect the adjacent property because it’s a site of history.”

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So far, he shared, no rules have been violated on either side. The local government has also called the NHCP, he said.

Watch the video below for more on Manila and how it's preserving cultural heritage:

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