SolGen backs petition vs Torre de Manila construction

Edu Punay (The Philippine Star) - July 30, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Solicitor General Florin Hilbay agrees with the Knights of Rizal that the construction of the 46-story Torre de Manila violated Republic Act No. 10066, the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009.

Torre de Manila significantly alters the physical integrity of the Rizal monument, Hilbay told the Supreme Court (SC) in a 10-page position paper.

“The construction of the Torre de Manila impairs the Rizal monument’s physical integrity, in violation of R.A. No. 10066 in relation to the Constitution’s conservationist and protectionist policies,” read the position paper.

“In the case of the Rizal monument, its physical integrity necessarily includes its sightline… The term ‘physical integrity’ is broad enough to cover such characteristics of a protected cultural artifact as are necessary to preserve its cultural value. With particular reference to the Rizal monument, its physical characteristics include its sightline.”

The city government of Manila is liable for the construction of the condominium, Hilbay said.

“The act of the City of Manila in granting an exemption to DMCI from the floor-area ratio limit constitutes grave abuse of discretion because such exemption leads to the impairment of the physical integrity of the Rizal monument,” he said.

The city government of Manila violated Ordinance No. 8119 for issuing zoning and building permits despite the Torre de Manila’s non-compliance with the floor-area ratio limit, he added.

The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) had the authority to issue a cease and desist order (CDO) against the construction of the condominium, Hilbay said.

“Section 25 of R.A. No. 10066 states that the power of the appropriate cultural agencies to issue a CDO extends to situations in which the physical integrity of the national cultural treasure or important cultural property is found to be in danger of destruction or significant alteration from its original state,” he said.

Developer DMCI appears to have secured all the formal government permits, Hilbay said. “Whether those permits are defective is a separate matter,” he said.

ACIRC CITY OF MANILA CULTURE AND THE ARTS HILBAY KNIGHTS OF RIZAL MANILA NATIONAL COMMISSION NATIONAL CULTURAL HERITAGE ACT ORDINANCE NO PHYSICAL RIZAL
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