NHCP: Alimodian plaza is ‘important cultural property’

Alimodian plaza

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has advised the municipal government of Alimodian, Iloilo to find “a different site” for its multi-purpose building project.

In his letter sent to Mayor Geefre Alonsabe, NHCP chairman Rene Escalante said the construction of the P4.6-million building in the town’s plaza must be permanently stopped.

The plaza, which was built more than 50 years ago in Barangay Poblacion, is considered an “important cultural property” (ICP), according Escalante.

“It’s an integral part of the heritage of the municipality,” he said.

ICP is described as a cultural property which has “exceptional cultural, artistic and historical significance to the country.”

Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 mandates the  protection of ICP against “exportation, modification or demolition.”

Pre-war photo of Alimodian plaza (Nerio Lujan)

The construction of the project started on July 12 but was temporarily stopped by Alonsabe after a group of concerned residents of Alimodian wrote a letter to NHCP.

The group opposed the project, which “occupies almost half of the plaza.”

Escalante also cited a memorandum circular issued by the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) in April this year

Memorandum Circular No. 02-2018 directed all its building officials and engineers to “consult and coordinate with the national cultural agencies for any proposed development concerning heritage sites and strictures.”

Alonsabe said he would appeal the NHCP’s decision.

The mayor stressed that the project is supported by “most of their residents.”

He said the multi-purpose building would house their tourism office and pasalubong center.

“This will also serve as the venue for our indoor activities and can be used as the evacuation center during calamities,” Alonsabe added.

On August 1, the mayor conducted a public consultation to discuss issues connected to the project.IMT