By Tara Yap
Iloilo City— Mayor Geefre Alonsabe of Alimodian town challenged members of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to reconsider their decision questioning the municipal government’s decision to build a multi-purpose project in the town plaza because the site is a heritage property.
“I challenge them. They should come and check,” Alonsabe said.
The NHCP earlier advised the municipal government of Alimodian to find a different site for the multi-purpose building and not build it inside the town’s plaza, which has been declared as an Important Cultural Property (ICP). The commission’s decision came after a group wrote to NHCP chairman Rene Escalante that the project site is within the town plaza, which they consider to be part of their heritage.
Due to the complaint, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Iloilo 4th District Engineering Office) temporarily halted the project to coordinate with NHCP and other agencies.
Despite being told to find another local, Alonsabe is firm that majority of Alimodian residents want the multi-purpose hall to be constructed within the plaza. He also reiterated the General Welfare clause of the Local Government Code. “We need a covered court for our activities. This will benefit our people,” Alonsabe said.
Alimodian official are not fully aware of how the plaza is an ICP. “On behalf of the LGU, we do not have papers declaring the plaza as heritage property,” Alonsabe said.
Alonsabe added that the marker of the then National Historical Institute (NHI) does not indicate the ICP status. Alonsabe also reiterated that the current plaza is not 50 years old.