House approves bill banning structures ‘photobombing’ view of national shrines, landmarks
MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives approved on final reading a bill prohibiting any real estate development that could ruin or obstruct the view of national shrines, monuments, and landmarks.
During Monday’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), with 210 affirmative votes and no negative votes.
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.”
The bill, filed just March this year, stemmed from the 49-story Torre de Manila building that 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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