Rizal Memorial declarations not antidevelopment - NCCA

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Contrary to claims that heritage and development cannot coexist, particularly when a structure or site has been officially declared a heritage jewel, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) defended the joint declarations of Rizal Memorial Sports Complex (RMSC) in Manila as National Historical Landmark by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and as Important Cultural Property by the National Museum (NM).

The declarations mean that the prewar sports complex is now protected by law, but it does not mean it cannot be updated or modernized, said Ivan Henares, head of the NCCA National Committee on Monuments and Sites (NCMS).

It simply means any modification or development should first be cleared with cultural agencies.

“The declarations are definitely not antidevelopment. They’re simply there to make sure that whatever development is undertaken in RMSC will respect the heritage character as well as the historic open spaces that still exist in the complex,” he said.

“These can be in the context of development of commercial facilities, as well,” he said, explaining that the heritage sector supported the adaptive reuse of the sports complex, including the establishment of modern sports facilities.

Henares also highlighted the importance of involving the conservation sector in the project as well as the stakeholders, since they “could give bright ideas that could enhance whatever development was going to happen in RMSC.”

Government funding

Heritage Conservation Society president Mark Evidente praised NHCP and NM for the declarations and the Philippine Sports Commission for acknowledging the declarations.

He commended sports-community leaders and heritage-advocate groups and personalities, such as the Advocates for Heritage Preservation under Tito Encarnacion, Christian Jacolbia, Ching de las Alas-Montinola and Menchu de las Alas-Concepcion - the daughters of RMSC builder Antonio de las Alas—for campaigning for the conservation of the complex.

He said that the declarations would entitle the complex to government funding for its protection, restoration and conservation.

Evidente echoed Henares’ statement and called on “the City of Manila and prospective developers of the site to present their plans for redeveloping RMSC to cultural agencies, taking into consideration the spirit of the place that embodies RMSC’s historical and cultural significance - that it is an open civic space for nation building through sports - as well as its social and environmental values in the fabric of the city.”  - Inquirer.net