Thursday, December 07, 2006

Manila: Save the Jose Abad Santos High School and Rajah Soliman High School!

After a judge junked a TRO plea to stop the demolition of the Jose Abad Santos High School (JASHS) and Rajah Soliman High School (RSHS), two heritage schools in Binondo, it's time to campaign again to prevent another heritage disaster of Atienzic proportions!

Senators Alfredo Lim and Jamby Madrigal had "asked the court to declare null and void a city council resolution authorizing Atienza to enter into an agreement evicting JASHS and RSHS from their present site in Binondo," the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported. Lim added that "the transfer and conversion of the two schools would destroy the historical and cultural significance of the area, which used to be known as Cuartel Meisic." For the significance of the Cuartel Meisic area, check out this article.

According to article, the senators also pointed out that "another resolution would give way to Megaworld Corporation to convert the site to be vacated by the students “into a commercial complex, under the (guise) of a housing project condominium structure, (complete) with several business establishments.”

Things you could do to help
1. Write a letter to Mayor Lito Atienza with your thoughts on his latest heritage rampage. His e-mail address is You could tell him too not to use Manny Pacquiao to get votes for his son while you're at it.
2. You could also call his office at (02) 5275191, 5274974, 5274989, 5279536, 5279538 or 5274939.
3. Write a letter to the editor. You could send it to the Philippine Daily Inquirer at or; Manila Bulletin at; or Manila Standard at or
4. Visit a church and pray that Mayor Atienza sees the light.
5. Blog about it! Forward this link to all your friends and contacts.

Related articles
Meisic Cuartel going down in history
Local gov't selling school campuses
Lust for silver triumphs over Filipino heritage
Kwentong Kalye: Meisic, Alvarado and Reina Regente


  1. I'd help but I want to be convinced first- What's so special about it?

  2. "These two lands, inseparably identified with institutions devoted to education and imbued with memories of the Manileños’ past, having existed for decades as public schools, accommodating no less than 10,000 poor students of Tondo, for free, the Rajah Sulayman High School and Jose Abad Santos High School, are awaiting their unexpected and dreaded demise, as their death certificates have been signed by no less than the City Council, with the death sentence struck - with a thumb-up sign, by its City Mayor. As heralded, from the schools’ burial sites will rise luxurious malls: the stereotypical symbols of the modern care-free lifestyle – luxurious wares, expensive foods, entertainment centers, fully air-conditioned establishments." ~ Sen. Alfredo Lim

  3. AS I SEE IT
    Local gov't selling school campuses

    By Neal Cruz
    Last updated 01:21am (Mla time) 11/24/2006

    Published on Page A14 of the November 24, 2006 issue of the Philippine Daily Inquirer

    * * *

    The Jose Abad Santos High School (JASHS) and Rajah Soliman High School (RSHS) stand on a property that used to be occupied by a police station called Cuartel Meisic in Binondo. They occupy about 2.5 hectares of land. The city council of Manila authorized the transfer of the title to this property to developer Megaworld Corp. The memorandum of agreement with Megaworld was signed last April 11, 2006 The two schools were supposed to be transferred to the old Namarco lot in Binondo, at the corner of Numancia and Urbiztondo streets.

    The deal is illegal, according to Senators Alfredo Lim and Jamby Madrigal in a petition for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction filed in court.

    In 1954, President Ramon Magsaysay, by virtue of Presidential Proclamation 46, excluded the site "from sale or settlement ... reserving (it) for use of the City of Manila as sites for the Meisic Police Station, Jose Abad Santos High School, Basic Health Center, and the Office of the City Engineer."

    On Oct. 4, 2005, President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo issued another proclamation, No. 925, declaring as a school site the old Namarco property in Binondo (corner Numancia and Urbiztondo Streets) and reserving the same for school buildings. That proclamation provided that the site shall be under the administration of the City of Manila but the administration of the school buildings shall be in coordination with the Department of Education. It also created an inter-agency committee composed of the mayor of Manila as chair and representatives from the Department of Education and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources as members, to formulate the implementing rules.

    Proclamation 46, the senators stressed, expressly excluded the property in question from "sale or settlement" and "reserved" the Cuartel Meisic compound as sites for JASHS and other specified government offices. Proclamation 925, on the other hand, reserved the Numancia/Urbiztondo property for the construction of school buildings.

    "The scheme of the respondents -- to remove JASHS and RSHS reserved by Proclamation 46 to give way to condominiums and a shopping mall -- could not have been envisioned by Proclamation 925 as otherwise it could have been so stated in simple terms and there would be no need to formulate implementing rules and regulations," the senators noted.

    Moreover, the Cuartel Meisic is a historical site and, under the Constitution, it cannot be disposed of for private or commercial use. Neither can the structures on it be destroyed, without violating RA 7356. The City of Manila has no authority to transfer, by mere ordinance, the property to any party. Such transfer requires an act of the national government, either by a presidential fiat or a legislative initiative.

    The agreement with Megaworld, for having violated presidential proclamations, is null and void, the two senators said.

  4. Anonymous8.12.06

    It's too bad that Atienza's beautifying campaign is selective and does not include areas with historical and cultural value. Oo, malakas kumita ang divisoria (168 mall) but to demolish a school to build another commercial complex? That says a lot of our Mayor's priorities. And yeah, please please stop using Manny Pacquiao to get your son into the mayoral office. No offense Manny.

  5. Ivan, you are fighting against BIG BUSINESS. I don't want to be a pessimist but you got billions of pesos against two historical schools for poor kids...
    I was amazed to discover last year that the San Lazaro Hippodrome made place for an SM Mall... and it seems that the Santa Ana Racetrack will close soon (don't know what they intend to do with it. Probably another mall)...
    With all the money those Mall operators are making (they really swim in CASH) expect another SM Mall to rise in the middle of Intramuros soon... :-(
    ALI, MEGAWORLD, SM (and others) they just want to grow, grow and grow till Manila is one big MALL with their housing projects.
    A mall is such a cash cow (rentals they collect monthly) that you can't stop those guys.

  6. Anonymous8.12.06




  7. Anonymous9.12.06

    Hi Ivan, to what effect would writing a letter to Mayor Atienza be? past experiences have shown that he has little regard for heritage. Would anyone know what has become of the Heritage Bill?

  8. Hi Kara,

    I still believe that one time or another, it would sink in. But I guess we just to wait a few more months before Manila's heritage destroyer disappears into oblivion. Konting tiis nalang at sana matalo si Ali... Hahaha!

    The Heritage Bill will have a difficult time getting approved simply because the NCCA, NHI and National Museum refuse to let go of their turf. More than convincing the senators which I believe is even easier, we have to find a way to convince the people in these agencies to let go of status quo and whatever they may be enjoying from it.

  9. Kara,

    This just came in. There will a Public Hearing next week to discuss the following bills...

    1. HBN 5577 – “An Act Declaring the Municipality of Carcar in the Province of Cebu as a Cultural Heritage Zone”.(Introduced by Reps. Gullas and Noel)

    2. SBN 54 – “An Act Providing for the Protection and Preservation of Philippine Cultural Heritage and for Other Purposes”.(Introduced by Sens. Flavier and Angara)

    3. SBNS 282, 725 & 2252 – “An Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of All Objects of Underwater Cultural Heritage in Philippine Water”. (Introduced by Sens. Osmeña III, Villar and Angara)

    4. SBN 576 – “An Act to Promote Filipino Education and Heritage Through the Establishment of Philippine Community Schools Abroad for Children of Filipino Migrant Workers and Other Overseas Filipinos”.(Introduced by Sen. Villar)

    5. SBN 913 – “An Act to Provide for the Preservation and Cultivation of the Filipino Heritage Among Filipino Overseas. Through the Teaching of Filipino Language and History, Assistance in the Establishment and Operation of Philippine Schools and Filipiniana Resource Centers Abroad, and the Creation of a Committee on Heritage and Culture for Overseas Filipinos, and Appropriating Funds Therefor” (Introduced by Sen. Estrada J.E.)

    6. SBN 1089 – “An Act to Promote the Protection and Conservation of the National Heritage, The Creation of a National Heritage Commission, and Providing Penalties and for other Purposes”.(Introduced by Sen. Angara)

    7. SBN 2123 – “An Act Providing Mechanisms to Regulate the Import, transit, Export, and Repatriation of Cultural Property into and From the Philippines”.(Introduced by Sen. Angara)

    8. SBN 2386 – “An Act to Provide for the Preservation and Cultivation of the Filipino Heritage Among Filipinos Overseas Through the Teaching of Filipino Language and History, Assistance in the Establishment and Operation of Philippine Schools and Filipiniana Centers Abroad and Establishing a Trust Fund Therefor”. (Introduced by Sen. Villar)

  10. Anonymous15.5.07

    The schools were relocated with additional benefits fully air-conditioned with housing for the teacher's upstairs. Besides I would rather have any other mayor than Alfredo Lim because he a very bad person that kills and extorts from people. I am chinese and yet I don't like him to be mayor. I guess only the closer people to him knows his dirts. . .

  11. Anonymous17.1.08

    I know a few people working in those two schools affected by the illegalities, and frankly, I'm infuriated. I guess money DOES talk.

    As for the one who commented before me, "Anonymous" (since you're not brave enough to say your name), dude, I'm Chinese too, but that doesn't have any bearing on this problem. The issue here is not Mayor Lim, but the plight of the two campuses. Go direct your grievances to those willing to listen. Like the former mayor's blind supporters.

    Being Chinese doesn't give anyone the right to trample on people's interests. The problem of this country is the lack of education (which most businessmen capitalise on - less knowledge, more opportunity to trick people), and the government, let alone the justice system, is siding with where the gees are. It's infuriating and terribly frustrating, but it's happening. Tearing down schools catering to the poor and disregarding heritage completely are just cruel.

    It doesn't matter if the condos are air-conditioned, or new establishments are built to accommodate them. Fact is, there would be more expenses on the part of the students and the teachers who need money the most. Instead of walking, they're going to take a jeepney ride and use that P7.50 which should be spent on a sandwich for lunch.

    Think about it.

    You're just being obstinate because you're not the one who's going to have a problem. There is a possibility you're not in the same income bracket as most of this country's population. Still, whatever your case may be, have a little heart, why don't you?

    Anonymous, whoever you are, money cannot buy you respect, nor can it buy you dignity. Mayor Lim may not be the best mayor out there, but at least, he's doing something for the Filipino community. Why don't you do the same and think of others for a change?

  12. Anonymous28.9.08

    An Open Letter to Save the Trees of JASHS
    (Jose Abad Santos High School) in Binondo

    Prof. Albert Banico, MSS
    Batch 91- JASHS

    “Let there be a place where a noble’s man’s ideals and virtues will forever be upheld.” This are the words of Justice Jose Abad Santos, the acting president of the Commonwealth Republic after President Manuel Quezon appointed him short before he left for United Sates during World War II.

    The place was mentioned by Abad Santos was finally came into being when the Justice noble wishes find fulfillment in a vast 20,000 square meter lot bounded by Reina Regente, Felipe II, Meisic and La Chambre Strets. JASHS started as a satellite Arellano High School which was housed of an old building earlier used as a Japnese garrison and later on MPD (Manila Police Department) Meisic Prison and was formally inaugurated on October 25, 1947.

    The Jose Abad Santos High School is a towering example of humble beginnings, academic pride, historical and cultural heritage, collective memory and the sad plight of untamed urbanization.

    By continuously upholding the uncompromised principles of serving the country, teachers and students alike stood to live the culture of “self-reliance and responsible citizenship” which become the commencement exercise theme of Batch 1991 where the author of this article belong. Sadly, after more than half-a-century of educational growth, JASHS as known to many graduates and students was silently transferred. With the first quarter of 2008 ended School and, Mini-Bakery, Home Economic buildings, rondalla compound, classrooms, gymnasium-Social Hall, Monuments and Marian grotto were pulverized and destroyed into ground zero. This includes old trees that was already cut and cut into pieces since summer of this year.

    The danger was felt earlier in the last quarter of then Manila Mayor Lito Atienza’s urban renewal program dubbed as Buhayin ang Maynila. The term of Atienza witnessed the desecration of several historical sites in the city of Manila including the Arroceros Forest Park and the Jai Alai Building at Taft Avenue design by one of the country’s national artist.

    The first portion JASHS that was destroyed was the MPD Meisic (Prison) old adobe building surrounding that was earlier included as part of the JASHS first year high school sections. The adobe compound was used by the Japanese army as prison cell that was originally housed the Commonwealth MPD. The first classrooms of JASHS were the Huts left by the liberation forces shortly after the liberation of Manila in 1940’s. Simultaneously with the Raja Sulayman High School which is a neighboring school of JASHS, MPD compound were bulldozed to pave the way for the Meisic Chinese Mall and another Chinese mall dubbed as 163 mall known for alleged over staying Chinese tourist who are publicly engaged in business trading as reported by mass media.

    Philippine news reports alleged sold JASHS campus by Mayor Atienza to the owner of Megaworld to construct a new giant commercial and residential hub to the Binondo district.

    Mayor Alfredo Lim who is a constant guest speaker of JASHS in the late 80’s when he is the mayor of the city, promised in the 2007 election and running in the same office where he wok several years before, that he will protect the JASHS and the proposed smaller campus where the school is set to transfer then will be converted into a city hospital since he observed that Manila lack health and social services. Sadly, the transferred of the school was effected during his term after he re-elected mayor of Manila.

    What is more equally disturbing are the “second killing and execution” not only of Justice Jose Abad Santos and Raja Sulayman High School but the also the rape and arrogant cutting of half-century trees along the street between the school and the trees inside the old JASHS compound.

    The equally disregarded 1987 Constitution recognize the Philippine State obligation toward education of its citizenry. With the smaller facilities in the new JASHS compound near Escolta and Pasig River, the educational services and facilities are limiting to serve the youth and transient students of Tondo and Binondo district. Teachers, students and alumni alike lobbied in the City Hall and even actively joined assembly and court hearing felt helpless after a sudden letter asking them to leave the premises of the old JAHS.

    The JASHS trees are monuments of the remaining academic and cultural heritage of JASHS collective memories across generation for the last more than half-a century. I call the attention of now DENR Secretary Lito Atienza to reveal to the public, the alleged payment that was made as claim by one security guard in the old JASHS premises to certify the cutting of trees within the premises.

    I also call the attention of Mayor Alfredo Lim and especially the City council of Manila who become enraged when a slaughter house which was owned by relatives of a city official and was forced to be closed but so silent in the destruction of a historical landmark and academic tower in the great city of Manila.

    May media people, legislators, environmentalist, students, teachers, advocates of responsible urban renewal, patriots, students, teachers and JASHS alumni hopefully joined hands to restore the remaining trees for trees are not only symbolized but a natural monuments for all generation.

    Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos was given a choice by President Quezon of going with him in Australia or staying in the Philippines. Abad Santos Stayed and was appointed acting President (Head) of the commonwealth government. The Japanese capture him in Cebu and was shot in Mindanao for his refusal to collaborate.

    The trees symbolize the towering pride of that heroism, let us join hands to SAVE the Trees of Jose Abad Santos High School!


    Philippine News Articles, 2007-2008

    Gleeck, Lewis, Jr., the Third Philippine Republic, New Day publisher, 1993

    43rd Commencement exercise, Jose Abad Santos High School, April 14, 1991

    Philippine Constitution, 1987

    Abaya, Hernando, Betrayal in the Philippines, 1946

    Nawasak na paaralan, alaala, kasaysayan at mga pangako pati ba mga puno?

  13. Anonymous4.10.08

    Mr.Anonymous, ito ay sinabi mo...
    "Nawasak na paaralan, alaala, kasaysayan at mga pangako pati ba mga puno?" (28.9.08)

    Maaaring isang pagtataka ang nasa isip dahil "pati ba mga puno" ay iyong naitanong...
    Katotohanan nga na pati mga puno ay winasak nila.
    Katotohanan din na pati mga puno ay isang tapat at mahusay na saksi sa kasaysayan ng JASHS.
    Kung iyong uunawain na sa academia pati mga puno ay bahagi ng pag-unlad at paghubog sa mga batang kaisipan na tinuturing na pag-asa ng bayan.

    Nawa ay hindi sarkastiko ang pagtingin mo sa comment na ito.
    Maaaring hindi ka nagmula sa paaralan ng JASHS... kaya nasasabi mo ang mga bagay na iyong nasulat dito.
    Kung sakaling ikaw ay galing din naman sa JASHS... nawa ang pagiging modernong kaisipan na nasa iyo ay makatulong sa pagtanggap ng mga magulang, alumni, at kasalukuyang mag-aaral ng JASHS ang tungkol sa naging kasalukuyang kasaysayan nito ng mahal naming paaralan.

    -Rev. Edgar Alulod _JASHS Class '78

  14. Paolo Lopez17.6.09

    My message may be very late but I just want to voice out my disappointment to what happened to these two sad that the historical value of these schools was disregarded.Naku wag sana ma re-elect si Atienza.

  15. Anonymous6.11.09

    now found in san nicholas, binondo, manila, near rajah soliman and manila high school.
    it was a worse school now in terms of facilities, equipments and infrastructure. there are two separate gyms which are both in the 4th floors of two buildings, when the students have MAPEH subjects, it is more difficult for them and for the teachers too, to go up and down, from and to the two buildings, given that teachers are lacking and no air condition rooms were provided for the staff and even the students suffer from kidney problems because the restrooms are closed for usage.
    it is terrible that those who use the stairs provided get knee injuries. there is no justice for the people teaching and learning there, though they give Manila, the finest students and ranking all over the Philippines.

    may there be a way for them to be saved from the terrible heat, dust and pollution.


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