NHCP stops redevelopment of heritage plaza in Iloilo town

Published November 29, 2021, 1:09 PM

by Tara Yap

ILOILO CITY — The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has ordered the halting of the redevelopment of a heritage plaza in Dingle town, Iloilo province.

This was after NHCP Chairman Rene Escalante issued a cease-and-desist order against the local government of Dingle as the plaza is considered an Important Cultural Property (ICP).

The perspective of the proposed redevelopment of the plaza in Dingle town, Iloilo province. (Dingle LGU/Manila Bulletin)

While actual construction has not yet started, trees were already cut as preparatory works for the town’s plaza’s redevelopment.

In a letter to Mayor Rufino Palabrica III, Escalante emphasized that the “plaza must be protected from any modification or alteration” without prior approval from the concerned government agencies.

The local government of Dingle did submit the redevelopment plan for the plaza to the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), which forwarded it to NHCP last October.

But Escalante noted that the NHCP’s Historic Preservation Division is not amenable to the local government’s plan as “it does not conform to the overall architectural character that the St. John the Baptist Church represents, which is a built heritage.”

Escalante also urged the local government to revise the redevelopment plan and submit it again to NHCP before any construction activities can begin.