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MANILA, Philippines – Ayala Land has filed a petition with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to remove the presumption of the Greenbelt 1 building in Makati as an Important Cultural Property (ICP).
The NCCA informed the public of Ayala Land’s petition, posting a notice on Twitter on Wednesday, July 26.
Greenbelt 1, located on the corner of Paseo de Roxas and Legazpi streets in Makati’s central business district, was constructed and opened in 1982. As a commercial establishment, it houses sundry shops, restaurants, and other services.
It is considered an ICP because it was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin. According to Republic Act (RA) No 10066, works by National Artists are presumed ICPs, unless otherwise declared.
Because of this, the building is protected from “exportation, modification, or demolition,” throwing a wrench in Ayala Land’s plans to redevelop the space.
Ayala Land said in their petition that while the building was designed by a National Artist, it does not have exceptional cultural, artistic, or historical significance to the country.
“Greenbelt 1, used primarily as a mall and retail establishment providing largely basic commodities over the last 41 years of operation, bore witness to no notable or exceptional historical event in the nation’s history,” the petition said.
They added that due to renovations made by the owner before the existence of RA 10066, the building’s current state is no longer consistent with Locsin’s signature style.
They argued that Ayala Land is being obligated to maintain the building but is not receiving government support.
“Petitioner Ayala Land’s hands are effectively tied and bound to preserve Greenbelt 1 in the interest of the State, the expense burden for which is not replaced by any compensation from the government,” the petition said.
Ayala Land stated that because Greenbelt 1 functions primarily as a commercial establishment, it is more conducive for a “brand-new comprehensive, well thought out mixed-use development” that is coherent with the aesthetic of the Makati CBD.
“The city lives and breathes, and Greenbelt 1 must keep with the times,” Ayala Land said, guaranteeing that the redeveloped space will give the public more open areas “that will serve as pockets of relief in a busy, dense, and fast-paced CBD.”
The Inquirer reported on July 12 that Greenbelt 1 will be torn down by the first half of 2024 to redevelop the space into a complex that includes shops, a large park, office spaces, a hotel, and bigger cinemas. According to the report, current tenants have already been advised of plans to close.
Those who are affected by the petition can file their written support or opposition with NCCA by August 15, 11:59 pm.
This is not the first petition to delist a Locsin-designed building as an ICP. In May 2022, PLDT filed a similar petition with the NCCA to remove the ICP designation of their Makati headquarters, the 15-storey Ramon Cojuangco Building. As of this writing, the building still stands. – Rappler.com