What is important, an abandoned old city hall or a new mall in its place?
This is the bone of contention and friction point between four barangay captains of Iriga city against its mayor and a developer.
It all began when Mayor Ronald Felix Alfelor entered into a contract of lease in September 2015 with Bellagio Holdings, Inc. to locate a shopping mall which will house a Puregold outlet, on the site of the 50 year old or so un-maintained city hall. The lease also covered the area where the Colosseum occupies, a multi-purpose structure adjoining the old city hall, used for sports and cultural events.
The barangay captains, invoke Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, which prohibits demolition or damaging any important cultural property. The opposing group claim the old structure is protected by the law.
Unfazed with opposition, the developers already enclosed the building with barricades with preparatory groundworks in progress.
So, barangay captains Michael Emmanuel Alfelor of Bgy. San Roque, Espiridion Ramboyong Jr of Bgy. La Medalla, Julio Colarina of Bgy. San Agustin, Renato Monadero of Bgy. San Antonio, with Paul Martin Villanueva, and their legal counsel Allan Macaraig, faced some members of the media in Naga City to publicize their plight.
Already, the barangay officials filed a complaint before the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) asking for a cease and desist order for the destruction of the heritage building.
At the press con, Edison Monalida, Heritage site coordinator of the NCCA, said the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) is the agency that can issue the order.
Meanwhile, Alfelor said the entry of Puregold in the city will give more than 100 jobs and give the local government assured income for 20-25 years. He is confident the project will push through because they followed the process such as public hearings.
Source: Link here.