NHC Meets Members of the Council
May 23, 2015
BAGUIO CITY – The city officials of Baguio and representatives of the National Historical Commission (NHC) and National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) are scheduled to meet to thresh out matters on city hall being declared as a historical site.
A fence and some improvements are planned for city hall grounds with additional space and mini-museum as additional features. This has stirred up questions among groups whether it be acceptable to introduce developments.
According to NHC representative Edison Molanida, who faced the council last Monday, the city hall is a marked heritage site, with a testimonial plaque on its frontage.
The plaque reads in part: “This city hall building stood on its hilly crest as the epitome of the aspirations of the people of Baguio and offered refuge against threat or harm and recently renovated under the city hall renovation and extension project which actual renovation started April 1997 with its original aesthetic design kept intact for posterity. This city hall building stands proud and mighty as a fitting tribute to its constituents…”
Thus, Molanida says there should be no alteration introduced, for the building’s integrity, authenticity, value, historical significance and conservation. The cultural importance of the property and cultural history attached to the edifice, and presumption of importance should be considered, it was also known during the session.
The councilors however stood their ground that nothing of importance including the interiors were or shall be renovated or altered. The original building, except for a massive renovation, and landscape are intact, it was known. The on-going development is also beyond the five-meter boundary for developments, it was argued.
It was unclear however if the plans for renovation have already been submitted to the NHC.
Molanida emphasized that before any improvements be done, a coordination with the NHC or NCCA be done. However if delisting of a heritage area could be done after a public hearing, and other required procedures.
In a later media forum, Mayor Mauricio Domogan clarified that a survey should be done to set the boundaries for developments within city hall grounds, approved improvements should be known as with disallowed improvements as to NHC or NCCA standards. A local institutionalized committee should also be formed from concerned offices including a city representative, the mayor said./Julie G. Fianza