Friday, July 19, 2019

Nalzaro: ‘Torre de Davide’

GOV. Hilario Davide III warned Third District Rep. Gwen Garcia not to meddle in the affairs of the Provincial Government, saying the congresswoman’s intervention is purely politicking. Gwen has been issuing statements, criticizing the Davide administration, especially on the proposed construction of a 20-story building within the Capitol compound.

Just recently, Gwen wrote to the Provincial Board, through Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, cautioning the legislative body in supporting Davide’s move in pushing for the P1.3-billion project as it violates Republic Act 10066, or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, an act providing for the protection and conservation of cultural heritage, strengthening the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and its affiliated cultural agencies and for other purposes.

The National Historical Commission of the Philippines has declared Capitol as a heritage site during Garcia’s stint as governor.

Call it politics since Gwen is running for governor in next year’s election against Magpale, but being a resident of Cebu and a representative in the province to Congress, she has every right to meddle and intervene in the affairs of the Province. Even an ordinary citizen has the right to be involved in the affairs of the government, especially if these concern taxpayers’ money. Unsa may gusto ni Davide, pasagdan lang sila sa ilang gihimo diha sa Kapitolyo aron magpatuyang sila sa ilang gibati? Nahadlok siya nga mautingkay ang ilang mga binoang diha?

Capitol has obtained a loan from a government bank to finance the project to be called the Human Resource Building to house the new Capitol building. The cost of the project is P1.3 billion. The contract is set to be awarded to WT Construction, the company that built the controversial Cebu International Convention Center during Garcia’s term. WT Construction won the bidding and qualified in the post-qualification bid.

I am not saying that Gwen’s sentiments represent the entire Cebuano populace, but being a taxpayer it is her duty and obligation to express her thoughts and stand on public affairs matters. Even members of the media also have the right to be involved in matters of public affairs. As the saying goes, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I am not saying that Capitol officials are “evil,” but this matter needs public scrutiny.

But if Gwen has the legal basis that the proposed project, which she calls “Torre de Davide,” violates the law I cited above, then I challenge her to go to court to stop the project and not just merely warn the present Capitol occupants. We cannot just disregard the law on heritage. The construction of “Torre de Manila” near the country’s monument of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal, in Luneta, a national heritage site, became controversial.

I have asked this before and I will ask it again, is the new Capitol building a priority? The existing Capitol building did not suffer major damage during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the Visayas area five years ago, and it can still accommodate all the departments and serve the volume of people transacting business there. So why construct a new one? The new building is not solely for the use of Capitol offices. Other floors will be rented for private commercial purposes. Does Capitol have the know-how to engage in business?

Were the basic needs of the Province’s constituents, such as medical and hospital needs, farm-to-market roads and livelihood, already addressed that Capitol would just waste its resources to a non-priority project? The timing of the construction was also questioned. Was it timing or just coincidence that it will be built as the election approaches? Is it designed for funding purposes? Just asking.


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