More thoughts on restoration and conservation PDF Print E-mail
Sunday, 02 November 2014 14:12




The editorial of the PDI for Oct 30, 2014 touches on a topic which is of very high interest at the moment for many Zamboanguenos, still agog over the work done on some parts of the historic Fort Pilar site.

I believe the controversies in Metro Manila, in Palo, Leyte as taken up in the editorial and in our own Zamboanga City stem from a lack of common acceptance of what it means “to conserve, to preserve  and to restore”.  Although I am not an architect I had always enjoyed reading the occasional columns in a Manila paper of  Augusto Villalon, an architect from Cebu City  who  is also very much concerned about  heritage conservation and preservation. In some of the columns I have read it was easy to pick up his frustration at what was done to certain structures in the country.

Perhaps some of the ideas I bring up in this piece are already being done but let me just share some of my thoughts anyway.

Since we have a National Historical Commission it would be a good thing if the NHC  can do the following:

* Establish what might be the standards for considering a site as historically significant?  These standards should be carefully deliberated and in a collegial manner accepted by professionals in the know about such matters.

* Invite LGUs across the breadth and width of the country to submit lists of sites,  buildings, structures, etc.  which might meet the standards already defined and accepted.

*These lists should be carefully scrutinized  by professionals in the field and eventually have the standards applied to each nominated structure.

*There should be an en banc deliberation as to which structures pass the standards and which did not.

*Those that pass will now fall under the protection of the NHC and no demolition ( in more ways than one) can be done on a protected structure without the joint approval of the LGU concerned and the NHC.

*All relevant government offices should be provided this list and be held responsible for any action contrary to the interest implied by the list.

I am expressing myself  without regard to any legal process that might be required  and people who know me will know that I am not a lawyer. I say these things with the thought that  a lawyer  out there will know how to handle these things the right way.

The editorial I referred to in the opening paragraph of this piece mentioned New Orleans’ French Quarter, Kyoto’s “old” section and Vigan in our own Ilocos Sur. I feel especially privileged that I have visited these three places .  Each of these places has its own “aura” which is difficult to describe and which we can try to replicate in chosen sites in the Philippines and particularly in our own Zamboanga City.