SEN. LOREN LEGARDA’S FOLLOW UP STATEMENT ON THE MANILA CENTRAL POST OFFICE FIRE INCIDENTMay 23, 2023
I vow to give my full and wholehearted support to the Philippine Postal Corporation (PhilPost) after the devastating aftermath of a fire that razed the Manila Central Post Office building. We should not take down the building but consider adopting the concept of adaptive reuse, that instead of destroying our heritage structures, we can restore them and use them for a new purpose. This is already being done in Intramuros, and there is no reason why it cannot be done in other parts of the country. Moreover, investigations taking into account how the fire started must seriously and immediately be conducted.
Preserving built heritage hinges on our ability to be ever-mindful of conservation strategies. The immediate allotment of funds for a conservation management plan, structural integrity studies, and restoration and retrofitting must be diligently made. As one of the heritage partners of PhilPost, the purchase, and transfer of the ownership of the building to the National Museum or other cultural government agencies must be highly considered. If necessary, emergency shoring may be had to prevent the walls and foundational structures from collapsing. We could also initiate the establishment of the Philippine Museum of Philatelic History in one part of the building and complete the collection of Philippine stamps. The area can also be developed into an arts and culture hub, a proposal that was previously put forth by Architect Paulo Alcazaren, which puts together the Post Office, Liwasang Bonifacio, Metropolitan Theater, Manila City Hall, National Museum Complex, Rizal Park, Arroceros Park and other historic structures.
With this tragedy comes new opportunities for scaling up our efforts in the conservation, preservation, retrofitting, and protection of our built heritage. I will file a resolution urging the legislators to join me in initiating a legislative action on the issues surrounding our heritage and national patrimony.