DESPITE opposition from heritage experts, the demolition of the old Patria de Cebu building will push through after all.
All 12 members of the Archdiocese of Cebu Administrative Board led by Archbishop Jose Palma voted unanimously in favor of the demolition in a meeting held on Wednesday, January 9.
Heritage advocate Architect Melva Java told SunStar Cebu that she and members of the Archdiocesan Commission on Culture and Heritage met with architects of the Cebu Landmasters Inc. (CLI) earlier this afternoon, January 9, at the Archbishop’s residence to discuss a possible win-win solution in retaining some parts of the old Patria in its proposed development.
But she admitted she was surprised when members of Archdiocesan Administrative Board led by Palma came to the meeting to hear their proposal.
After a lengthy discussion on the matter, Palma asked Java and her team to leave the meeting room so that he and members of the administrative board can vote on whether they would retain the Patria or not in the new development.
Java said that a few minutes later, all 12 members of the Archdiocese’s Administrative Board voted in favor of demolishing the Patria.
Java said that despite the Archdiocese’s decision, she and members of the commission will continue to be firm in their stand that the Patria de Cebu should be preserved.
“I still hope that the developers will have a change of heart and will continue the development without compromising the important elements that make the Patria what it is,” Java added.
Last December 29, Java and her team of heritage experts met with CLI, Palma and other officials of the Archdiocese of Cebu, the Archdiocesan Commission on Culture and Heritage and the Pastoral Planning Board in the hope of reaching a “compromise.”
Palma was cited to have said that more meetings should be done with CLI, the archdiocese and heritage experts to reach a compromise.
READ: A Patria ‘compromise’ may be on the table
Java and heritage experts argued that the Patria de Cebu, which was constructed in 1954, cannot be demolished due to its importance in Cebu’s Catholic history.
Java argued the Patria was one of the earlier examples of earthquake-resistant construction in Cebu and has remained strong and serviceable for almost six decades.
The Patria building also holds economic potential due to its heritage value.
Java added the Patria is protected under National Cultural Heritage of the Philippines or Republic Act 10066 which protects buildings that are more than fifty years old.
Once the Patria is demolished, the CLI will develop an integrated retail, office and hotel structure. (JKV)