Rizal Monument joins list of world's endangered heritage sites
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines' Rizal Monument now belongs to an international list of endangered historical sites, Senator Pia Cayetano said during a privilege speech delivered on Tuesday, November 18.
The shrine, declared a National Monument by the government, is now just as endangered as Machu Picchu of Peru, El Camino de Santiago Compostela of Spain, and the Dampier Archipelago of Australia, said the senator.
The monument was declared endangered and "in urgent need of government attention and necessitating protection" by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS), a UNESCO-affiliated body of heritage experts that, among other things, comes up with the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
The resolution declaring Rizal Monument as endangered was issued during the 18th General Assembly of the organization held from November 9 to 14 in Italy, which Cayetano attended. The official copy of the resolution has not yet been released.
The previously mentioned heritage sites from other parts of the world were declared endangered during the same session.
The continued construction of residential tower Torre de Manila is what has put the Rizal Monument in its endangered status, said Cayetano.
A project of David M. Consunji Incorporated (DMCI) Homes, the building has been nicknamed "Terror de Manila" and "Pambansang Photobomb" (National Photobomber) because of its obtrusive effect on one's frontal view of the Rizal Monument.
Cayetano said the building is already 29 floors high and 19.08% complete.
It was during the administration of Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim that the construction was allowed to take place. Despite congressional hearings and a temporary suspension order by the Manila city council during Mayor Joseph Estrada's administration, DMCI Homes has proceeded with construction.
Cayetano hopes the ICOMOS resolution puts even more pressure on both the Manila city government, DMCI Homes, and the government's historical and cultural agencies to do something about the tower.
"If we do not act now, if we do not set this right now, we stand to lose so much. The Rizal Shrine will forever be marred by this private structure. And not only that, we lose the opportunity to send the right message for all the other historical and cultural treasures that are threatened." – Rappler.com