Lawmakers back NCCA on Torre de Manila row
Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - February 26, 2015 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Congressmen have urged the National Commission on Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to seek the help of the Manila police in stopping the construction of Torre de Manila, a 49-story commercial building near Rizal Park.

Members of the House committee on Metro Manila development made the appeal Tuesday after lawyer Beatriz Angeles of the NCCA informed them in a hearing that the builder continues construction activities despite a cease and desist order (CDO) issued by the agency.

Lawmakers said the builder should follow the CDO, which they added is a legitimate issuance by a state regulator that has jurisdiction over historical sites like Rizal Park.

“The company should not ignore it. They should follow it in the absence of a restraining order from the court,” Rep. Rodel Batocabe of party-list group Ako Bicol said.

Batocabe said the police and local government of Manila should help the NCCA enforce its order.

“The problem with that proposition is that the Manila City government apparently allowed the construction of Torre de Manila knowing fully well that the building is not supposed to be there,” he said.

He said the NCCA should go to court if the builder continues to ignore the CDO.

Angeles said the builder followed the NCCA order for one week, after which it resumed construction.

Former Manila mayor and now Rep. Lito Atienza of the party-list group Buhay and Manila Rep. Amado Bagatsing asked the House panel chaired by Quezon City Rep. Winston Castelo to invite city officials to its next hearing.

“They have to explain why they allowed the construction of a condominium building in an area where structures higher than six floors are banned,” Atienza said.

Earlier, the Order of the Knights of Rizal asked the Supreme Court to stop the construction of Torre de Manila.

Sen. Pia Cayetano has supported the NCCA’s decision to issue the CDO.  – With Paolo Romero

AKO BICOL AMADO BAGATSING BEATRIZ ANGELES BUHAY AND MANILA REP CULTURE AND THE ARTS FORMER MANILA LITO ATIENZA MANILA MANILA CITY RIZAL PARK
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