Solon wants to declare the Baclaran Church as a tourist destination

By Charissa Luci-Atienza

Parañaque Rep. Eric Olivarez wants to declare the National Shrine of our Mother of Perpetual Help or the Baclaran Church as a tourist destination.

The colorful Baclaran Church front door in Baclaran Parañaque for the first "Simbang Gabi" last year. ( Jun Ryan Arañas / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

He cited that the Redemptorist Church is one of the largest Marian Churches in the Philippines where thousands of devotees attend the Mass every Wednesday and pray the Novena of Our Mother of Perpetual Help.

“The Baclaran Church has been part of the socio-cultural landscape of the country, particularly in Metro Manila and has been a pilgrim site among the millions of Marian devotees in the Philippines, and also attracts domestic and foreign tourists,” Olivarez said.

“It is essential that government take the necessary steps or programs to conserve and preserve this important cultural site, and protect and secure the thousands of pilgrims and tourists flocking to Baclaran Church,” he said.

He noted that since the Feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1958, the Shrine has been authorized by the Holy See to remain open 24 hours a day throughout the entire year.

The Shrine itself was blessed by Pope John Paul II during his first Apostolic Visit to Metro Manila in 1981.

Olivarez sought the passage of House Bill 8530 declaring the Redemptorist Church located along Roxas Boulevard, Parañaque City a tourist destination.

The bill provides for the Department of Tourism (DOT), in coordination with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) and other concerned agencies to prioritize the Shrine’s development subject to the rules and regulations governing the development of heritage site and tourist destinations.

HB 8530 tasks the DOT, in coordination with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) to prepare a tourism development plan involving the construction, installation and maintenance of facilities and infrastructure that shall improve the overall features of the area surrounding the Redemptorist Church, thereby ensuring its accessibility and the security of the faithful and tourists.

The development plan shall ensure the preservation and conservation of the historical significance of the area.

The DOT and its concerned attached agencies shall take immediate steps to implement the appropriate tourist development plan for the Baclaran Church.

Under HB 8530, the Secretary of the DOT shall include in the department’s program the implementation of the proposed Act, the funding of which shall be included in the annual General Appropriations Act and internally generated funds of the DOT.

Within 60 days from the effectivity of the proposed Act, the DOT, in consultation with the local government unit of Parañaque City, shall issue the rules and regulations for the proper implementation of the proposed Act, the bill said.