Thursday, June 01, 2006

Manila: Save Manila from Mayor Atienza!

This is the third entry with the word save in such a short span of time. The ignorance of our local government officials, moreso in the nation's capital city, is getting to be really depressing. It seems Mayor Lito Atienza is living up to his name as Manila's heritage destroyer. In the PDI article Arroyo orders rehabilitation of endangered buildings (May 31, 2006), Atienza calls for the demolition of the Luneta Hotel Historical Landmark! It is difficult to fathom how a mayor would even consider doing such.

The article says, "However, the mayor called on the DPWH and the owners of abandoned private buildings to demolish the structures because these posed a danger to the public.

"He cited the Veteran's Bank Building in the Port Area, the Royal Hotel on Carlos Palanca Street and the Luneta Hotel on T.M. Kalaw Avenue, among other buildings.

"These are abandoned buildings," Atienza said. "Uninhabited structures tend to become brittle as the years pass, and this is dangerous."

Photos of the Luneta Hotel came from the Heritage Watch Forum. The white building to the right of the hotel is another pre-war structure, the University Club Building.

The Luneta Hotel was declared a national historical landmark by the National Historical Institute and is thus protected by P.D. 1505. According to the decree, "Sec. 5. It shall be unlawfully for any person to modify, alter, repair or destroy the original features of any national shrine, monument, landmark and other important historic edifices declared and classified by the National Historical Institute as such without the prior written permission from the Chairman of said Institute.

"Any person who shall violate this Decree shall, upon conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not less than one year nor more than five years or a fine of not less than one thousand pesos nor more than ten thousand pesos or both, at the discretion of the court or tribunal concerned."

After chopping down centuries-old trees in Manila's last lung, the Arroceros Forest Park; demolishing the art deco Jai Alai Building in order to build a Hall of Justice which up to today has not begun (the lot where the Jai Alai Building used to stand is still a gaping hole in the ground); building a park and ride facility in the Mehan Gardens Historical Landmark, an archaeologically rich area being the site of Manila's Parian, thus destroying evidences of our rich culture; and getting rid of the YMCA Building and San Lazaro Hippodrome to build SM malls, sad to say SM City Manila now towers over the Manila City Hall and the area has become so congested and ugly; he is at it again!

Congratulations for a job well done Mayor Atienza! Kudos to your Patayan ang MayniLA program!
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