Palma on Patria dev’t: No compromise for safety
CEBU Archbishop Jose Palma cited safety as the main reason for taking down Patria de Cebu located across the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral and turning it into a commercial space with a public piazza, a hotel, a department store, supermarket, restaurants, and office spaces.
“We have varying degrees of heritage, but for the Church, it has reached a point that it (Patria de Cebu) can be dangerous for the people. It is too old,” said Palma in an interview after celebrating the Mass of the Solemnity for the Immaculate Conception (Dec. 8) on Saturday at cathedral
Palma said that perception that Patria de Cebu must be a protected heritage had been left debatable among the public although heritage advocates had already expressed their concerns on it.
“This will be a practical development. The land can be used for many purposes,” said the prelate.
Among the advocates that recently expressed dissent on turning Patria de Cebu into a commercial space were renowned architect, Melva Java, and former Cebu Daily News Editor-in-chief, Eileen Mangubat. Both are members Archdiocese Commission on Cultural Heritage of the Church.
They sent a letter to the archbishop on November 27 saying that there are ‘alternative designs that can preserve the building at the same time reap the maximum economic benefit of its location with modern, commercial structures.’
However, Palma said that the safety of the people could not be compromised for the heritage site.
“We asked our architect and he said that the building is not earthquake proof. There are parts we can preserve from the structure, but not all of it,” said Palma.
The Patria de Cebu was built in 1954 as a youth recreational center and served as a convent for nuns as well. Today, the edifice serves as a budget-friendly hostel for travelers.
The Archdiocese of Cebu has partnered with the Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) on October 28 to transform the Patria de Cebu into a mixed-use space.
CLI is investing around P900 million for project.
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