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MANILA, Philippines – Despite protests and even a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court, work on the Torre de Manila is still in full swing. For one of Jose Rizal’s descendants, however, enough is enough.
Isaac Reyes, a descendant of Saturnina, Jose Rizal’s sister, held a protest against the Torre de Manila on Thursday, December 31. Standing in front of the Rizal Monument, he held placards, and brought some extra for the people who joined him.
In a photo from the Facebook page of No to DMCI’s ‘Terror de Manila,” Reyes is seen holding signs saying “Bayan Muna Bago (Country First Before) Torre de Manila!” and “Demolish the Torre de Manila.”//
Reyes earlier issued a public invitation to join him. He estimated 50 Filipinos who shared the same sentiment participated in the demonstration to show their support.
Security guards then approached the group to ask them to move. After Reyes refused to transfer, the guards called the police. Still, he refused to move.
“I didn’t move because I think it is the appropriate place to protest against the Torre de Manila as long as the view of Rizal is not obstructed by the protesters,” Reyes explained. “Myself and the other protestors photobombed the Rizal monument much less than the Torre de Manila!”
Eventually, the police expressed their support and let them stay. Reyes decided to end the protest at noon.
“I realized that I’d made my statement, and the best way forward would be to lend support to the groups who are already doing great work against this issue, such as the Knights of Rizal,” Reyes said.
Reyes added discussions are still in the preliminary stages.
Reyes first found out of his lineage when he visited the Luneta Park with his father who told him his great-great-grandmother was Saturnina Hidalgo, Jose Rizal’s eldest sister.
There is a sense of responsibility attached to being a Rizal, according to Reyes.
“I’m working hard to make sure that I give something back. It’s impossible to ever live up to Rizal though,” he said.
Reyes has also supported the Change.org petition campaigning for the demolition of the Torre de Manila. He said he would personally deliver the signatures once it had achieved its goal.//
‘Terror de Manila’
The Torre de Manila’s construction has been controversial. (READ: TIMELINE: The Torre de Manila case)
The building was granted a building permit in July 2012, and city councilor DJ Bagatsing’s resolution to suspend construction was approved by the council.
Opposition to the building built up in 2013 when the city council suspended the building permit to allow for a dialogue among stakeholders.
In 2014, the Knights of Rizal filed a petition before the Supreme Court asking for the demolition of the Torre de Manila, saying it qualified as a nuisance. By 2015, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts joined the opposition to the project.