IT’S good that Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma has listened to those with contrary views on the plan to demolish the old Patria de Cebu building and build modern structures there in its stead. That should be the way to go when it comes to projects that affect some sectors. You listen to those sectors and hope to come up with a compromise agreement.
Palma presided over a meeting attended by architect Melva Java, one of those who opposed the planned demolition of the 64-year-old structure, and officials of the Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI), the project contractor. The hope is that CLI would open itself up to Java’s proposal and willingly go back to the drawing board to come up with changes to the original concept for the project.
The CLI is investing P1 billion for the project and aims to build a shopping center, restaurants, a Rome-inspired public plaza, a hotel and some other structures in the area, which is located across the Cebu Metropolitan Cathedral. The location is strategic considering that the cathedral is a center of religious activity in the archdiocese.
Palma admitted that more meetings need to be held in order to reach a consensus on the matter, but it is not as if the archdiocese and CLI are pressed for time even if it is obvious that CLI wants to get an assurance of a return of its investment. But projects of this magnitude has to be studied thoroughly.
Cebu has other projects on the pipeline, like the planned executive building to be built inside the Cebu Provincial Capitol compound and the development of the old Kawit island by the Universal Hotels and Resorts Inc. Both the Cebu Provincial Government and the Cebu City Government should help ensure that those projects would consider both heritage and the sensibilities of Cebuanos.
Government officials, and in the case of Patria de Cebu the Cebu Archdiocese, should not consider themselves as the sole decision makers on matters that affect their constituency. The profit motive should not solely guide the decision making. Public sensibility and interests need to be considered, too.