DPWH to personnel: Preserve historic sites in projects
MANILA, Philippines – Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson has reminded personnel of the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to respect and preserve historic sites in all road and infrastructure projects nationwide.
Singson ordered the strict adherence of DPWH personnel to a 1991 department order reminding public works directors and engineers to coordinate closely with historical preservation and cultural agencies to protect historic sites and structures that may be affected by DPWH projects.
"We have to preserve these historic sites and structures for the young generation to learn from our past," said Singson, who gave the reminder following opposition to a road widening project in Quezon province that threatens ancestral houses and historic structures.
Singson said the preservation of these sites should have been considered during the conduct of feasibility study or planning phase of the project development "in order to avoid unnecessary delays, revisions, and alterations during the construction period."
A quick look at the list of infrastructure projects in Region IV-A as of May 2014 at the DPWH website shows an entry for a road widening project at the Sariaya section of Daang Maharlika in the second district of Quezon. The project started in April 2014, and is expected to be completed by August 2014.
The Sariaya Heritage Council, Inc of Sariaya town in Quezon have started an online petition at change.org, saying that the road widening project would "ruin the patio of a church, municipal hall, park, and ancestral houses that give the town a unique character."
The project would also "adversely affect the many private properties, establishments, and businesses on both sides of the main road, General Luna Street," the petition said.
The group suggested that the DPWH create a new diversion road outside of Sariaya instead, like what was done in nearby Candelaria and Tiaong towns.
The online petition is addressed to Singson and DPWH Region IV-A directors Huillio Belleza and Samson Hebra.
Belleza, however, said that there is no road-widening project within the Sariaya town proper and the ongoing road-widening activities are located in barangays Sampaloc II and Balubal, before and after the Sariaya town proper.
DPWH Department Order No. 243, signed on November 26, 1991, by then secretary Jose de Jesus, instructs all DPWH regional directors, project directors, district engineers, and planning engineers "to coordinate closely with the National Historical Institute (NHI), the National Museum, and the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) in the identification and preservation of historic sites and monuments, or any structure of historical value, to avoid unwarranted demolitions or destructions." – Rappler.com