House OKs bill banning structures that ruin or block view of national shrines, landmarks
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on second reading a bill prohibiting any real estate development that could ruin or obstruct the view of national shrines, monuments, and landmarks.
During Tuesday’s session, the lower chamber approved House Bill No. 8829, or the Cultural Property Sightline Act, which aims to amend the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 (Republic Act No. 10066).
The measure prohibits the construction of a building or a similar structure that would cause “negative or adverse visual impact” on any cultural property be it due to its size, design, purpose or proximity.
“The local government unit, where any such cultural property is located, shall pass an ordinance that provides for the protection and prevention of any substantive adverse visual impact that might arise from such construction…” the bill states.
“Any building or structure that is constructed in violation of this section, in whatever stage of construction, shall be condemned, demolished, and abated by the concerned local government unit at the expense of the entity or entities responsible for the violation,” it adds.
The measure also mandates local governments to pass an ordinance for the protection of any cultural property in their jurisdictions.
The measure likewise amends the definition of cultural property as “all products of human creativity by which people and a nation reveal their identity, including national historical shrines, monuments and landmarks, as declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.”
To recall, the 49-story Torre de Manila building infamously “photobombed” the iconic monument of national hero Jose Rizal at the Luneta Park, drawing criticisms and protests, most notably from the late cultural enthusiast and activist Carlos Celdran who in June 2012 launched an online campaign against the completion of the project.
Celdran claimed the structure, derisively dubbed “Terror de Manila,” marred the view of the Rizal shrine.
In July of the same year, the city government of Manila, under the administration of then Mayor Alfredo Lim, granted a building permit to developer DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI) Homes after it submitted all requirements, including approval from the city planning office in the form of a zoning permit.
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