via Inquirer, 11 March 2019: The previous story was good news, but this piece was bad news. A colonial cemetery site was illegally demolished last year in northern Philippines, and in its place is a stadium.
A cockpit arena now stands at the site of the Spanish-era cemetery of Balaoan in La Union following its demolition last year.
The circular cemetery together with the town’s convent was built by Fr. Casimiro Melgosa in 1877.
It was where the seven martyrs of Balaoan were executed by Spanish authorities during the 1896 Philippine revolution.
A descendant of one of those martyrs, Emilie Obaldo, a heritage advocate based in the United States, lamented the demolition.
“If this issue is a violation of any existing Philippine law protecting historical structures, then whoever demolished Balaoan’s public cemetery should be held accountable,” said Obaldo. (She is sister of mayoralty candidate General Pedro Obaldo Jr.
The “desecrated” cemetery, she said, “has been untouched for years, evident that it has always been a public property.” But it appears to have been transferred to private ownership.
via SunStar, 09 Mar 2019: The National Historical Commission of the Philippines halts the demolition of a 243-year-old watchtower in Southern Leyte.
THE National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has issued a cease and desist order, suspending all activities affecting the 243-year-old watchtower within the campus of a private Catholic school in Maasin City.
“It has come to our attention that the proposed construction of buildings within the compound of Saint Joseph College will affect a Spanish-period watchtower,” said Dr. Rene Escalante, the NHCP chairman.
“The said structure being more than 50 years is a presumed Important Cultural Property (ICP). Under Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009, such ICPs must be protected from any modification or alteration,” Escalante added in a letter addressed to Bishop Precioso Cantillas of the Diocese of Maasin.
The opening up of Myanmar means more money and more tourists coming in, which means more development – which in turn means the once-grand colonial-era buildings may have to make way for newer ones. The tourism industry is expressing a desire to protect some of these colonial neighbourhoods so that they may be kept as tourism products.