Palma Templete will be made a landmark

Posted on December 2, 2012


Cebu Archbishop Jose Palma said he’s willing to wait, but is confident the site of Friday’s National Thanksgiving Mass for St. Pedro Calungsod will eventually be declared a historical landmark.

“In due time. It’s very obvious. This place is historical,” Palma told Cebu Daily News when asked about the prospect.

Palma said he was happy that the celebration was successful, favored with good weather and the attendance of nearly one million people, including President Benigno Aquino III, three cardinals, and almost 800 bishops and priests.

Thousands walked in with foot processions or took free bus rides to attend the open air Mass in the South Road Properties (SRP), where a concrete and bamboo templete was built on 700 square meters for the Nov. 30 event.

A 27-hectare block of reclaimed land was backfilled and levelled for the occasion by SM Prime Holdings with other private contractors who donated filling materials and loaned their heavy equipment and crew.

A bid to declare the the area a historical site will be revisited by Cebu City Councilor Edgar Labella, who would have to refile his proposal on the matter.

“We have to preserve the area where the thanksgiving mass was held because it was a very significant event for Cebu City and the rest of the country,” Labella told Cebu Daily News.

When Labella first presented his resolution to the city council in August, it was set aside after peers said they wanted to wait until after the event takes place.

Some wanted to know how big an area would be involved, since the 27-hectare site is property of the Cebu city government, and how the decision would affect efforts to market unsold portions of the 300-hectare SRP.

Across the street, SM Prime Holdings is developing Seaside City, whose first building, San Pedro Calungsod Chapel, built at a cost of about P160 million was consecrated as part of the thanksgiving activities and is being donated by Hans Sy Sr. to the Archdiocese of Cebu.

City councilors asked if there was a need to donate the templete area in SRP to the church as well.

The Cebu City Cultural and Historical Affairs Commission (CHAC) under Mayor Michael Rama already recommended that the City Council directly declare the templete area a historical landmark to do away with lengthier requirements and delays in seeking a national declaration by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), said officer in charge Glenda Gabuya.

The site or structure would have to be 50 years old to quaify for a declaration of a national historical landmark by NHCP as provided for in Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

City Councilor Margot Osmeña encouraged Labella to refile his resolution so it can be discussed in the city legislature.

“Let him (refile the resolution) so that it can go through the process. But I don’t know of any existing law or guideline on the matter. We have never done this before,” said Osmeña, chairman of the tourism committee.

She said the city government doesn’t have guidelines on how to make a historical landmark declaration. /Ador Vincent Mayol and Doris C. Bongcac

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