Nat’l Historical Commission to probe ongoing Capitol Resource Center project

By: Futch Anthony Inso June 11,2019 - 12:22 AM

This is an artist’s rendition of the Capitol Resource Center. | file photo from Capitol PIO

CEBU CITY, Philippines — The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chairman Rene Escalante will investigate why the Cebu Provincial government had started the construction of the Capitol Resource Center.

Escalante, who was surprised upon knowing that the project had already started, said he would ask his people to look into that.

He said that the NHCP had not given the provincial government any clearance for its construction nor had they received a formal offer or application made by the Cebu Provincial government.

“The last time I talked to Atty. (Mark) Tolentino, I told him that it is better for him to get the clearance from us than to disregard the mandate of our agency,” he added.

He said that normally, NHCP would require the submission of a development plan and it would be signed by proper authorities so that the project would acquire a clearance.

Escalante said two years ago, they’ve only received a proposal coming from the provincial government, which he described as purely exploratory and that standard procedure to secure the clearance was not observed.

Read more: NHCP: Capitol is taking great risk in proceeding with resource center project

But he said that the provincial government had argued that the NHCP had no jurisdiction over the project.

“Kasi, ang argumento po ng provincial government is that we cannot assume jurisdiction because it is a new construction,” he said.

(It’s because the argument of the provincial government is that we cannot assume jurisdiction because it is a new construction.)

Although they have a point, but Escalante said that the issue of the heritage community was the buffer zone of the important cultural property, which was the Cebu Provincial Capitol.

“There is always a fear that if you erect a building beside an important cultural property and something will happen to that building and it might affect the important property, we will assume jurisdiction. We will regulate,” Escalante added.

He said that such mandate of NHCP had been provided under Republic Act (R.A.) 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act.

Escalante, however, admitted that the buffer zone which was mentioned in R.A. 10066 remained a gray area and could still be argued.

“We don’t know what would be the actual because this will be decided not by us but by the court, who has now the correct interpretation of the buffer zone,” he explained.

Read more: Davide on fate of resource center: Let the courts decide

But Escalante said that NHCP can issue a stoppage order or cease and desist order against the construction of the Capitol Resource Center, as long as a formal complaint would be filed before their office.

“If there would be a formal complaint, then we have to act. Somebody should trigger it, that would trigger us and to any cultural agencies for that matter,” he added.

Read more: Garcia tells Davide anew: Prevent more losses, stop resource center project

Read more:

Earlier, outgoing Governor Hilario Davide III had insisted that he would continue the project, despite the opposition of incoming governor Gwendolyn Garcia./dbs

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TAGS: Capitol, center, commission, Davide, Escalante, Garcia, historical, investigate, national, Philippines, resource, Tolentino

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