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MANILA, Philippines – Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna assured the public on Monday, May 23, that no commercial space will be built at the site of Manila Central Post Office, following the fire that gutted the decades-old iconic structure.
The Manila mayor said in an online briefing that the area where the historical building stands along the banks of the Pasig River is an institutional zone.
This zone refers to the area within a city or municipality intended for general types of institutional establishments such as government offices, hospitals, clinics, academic, research, and convention centers.
She also noted that the neoclassical landmark was declared an “Important Cultural Property” by the National Museum in 2018. This means that the entire area where the post office is located is considered a heritage zone.
“Kapag ganito po, hindi na pwedeng patayuan ng kahit ano pa mang gusali, maliban sa naturing na post office doon sa lugar na yun. Ibig sabihin po, napro-proteksyunan ng ating zoning ordinance na kahit po ang pamahalaang lungsod ng Maynila, kahit ang national government ay hindi pwedeng magpatayo ng kahit ano pa mang imprastraktura sa lugar na yun maliban doon sa tinatawag nating Manila Central Post Office,” Lacuna said.
(Given the circumstance, no building can be constructed there, except for the post office. It means that our zoning ordinance protects the area, such that neither the city government of Manila nor the national government can build any infrastructure there, except Manila Central Post Office.)
The City of Manila also expressed its commitment to help rebuild the post office.
According to the Bureau of Fire Protection, the estimated cost of damage is P300 million.
Manila Post Office is temporarily setting up a center at the Foreign Mail Distribution Service in Delpan, Manila.
According to the Bureau of Fire Protection-National Capital Region, the fire at the Manila Central Post Office started at 11:41 pm on Sunday, May 21.
The fire reached the general alarm – the highest fire alarm – at 5:54 am on Monday, May 22. General alarm means that the blaze has affected “major parts of the area.” It is also a call for all fire stations, including those from outside the affected city or or town, to send their trucks for help.
More than 30 hours after the blaze began, the BFP declared fire out at 6:33 am on Tuesday, May 23. BFP is still investigating the exact cause of fire.