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Execs checking heritage sites

BAGUIO CITY—The National Historical Commission of the Philippines inspected on Thursday several Baguio sites that are being considered for heritage conservation, including a post office building that has been the subject of a recent campaign.

Ludovico Badoy, the commission’s executive director, said he is studying the proposal to preserve the original post office here, which stands on an underdeveloped prime asset of the Philippine Postal Corp. (Philpost) on a hill near Baguio Cathedral.

Portions of the old building had been rented out to a karaoke bar, a mobile telephone retailer and several food stalls, since postal services were relocated to a new building.

On Wednesday, conservation advocates sent “Save the Baguio Post Office” postcards to President Aquino and Postmaster General Josefina de la Cruz through regular mail.

Told that the old post office building could have been reconstructed after World War II, Badoy said the commission could consider the facility a historical or cultural monument because all structures aged 50 years or older “are presumed important cultural property” under the heritage law.

“If it does not have any historical significance, the National Museum takes over [to facilitate its preservation],” he told Joel Arthur Tibaldo, the Baguio Cinematheque administrator, who launched the conservation drive.

Tibaldo and other advocates have urged Philpost or any government agency to convert the building into a postal museum that is tied to the history of Baguio City.

The summer capital was developed, designed and built by the American colonial government in the 1900s. It celebrated its centennial in 2009.

Badoy said he went to the city principally to address a request to install historical markers for the most recognized spots in Baguio City like Baguio Cathedral, Teachers’ Camp, the presidential Mansion and parts of Camp John Hay.

The city government proposed to recognize through these markers the historical importance of at least 36 sites, including the old Post Office building.

Badoy also addressed a city government petition to declare as a heritage site Dominican Hill, which served as a retreat facility of the Dominican friars in 1915 when the American colonial government started inviting people to reside in Baguio. Vincent Cabreza, Inquirer Northern Luzon

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Tags: Baguio , Heritage Conservation , National Historical Commission of the Philippines

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