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Aquino asked: What’s your stand on Torre de Manila?

Knights of Rizal rally youths vs condo project
By: - Reporter / @jovicyeeINQ
/ 01:50 AM July 18, 2015
HAMMER FOR HERITAGE. Students taking part in the Knights of Rizal’s solidarity walk against Torre de Manila prepare to demolish a miniature model of the controversial condo project. The mass action at Rizal Park gathered about 200 participants on Friday. PHOTOS BY JOAN BONDOC

HAMMER FOR HERITAGE. Students taking part in the Knights of Rizal’s solidarity walk against Torre de Manila prepare to demolish a miniature model of the controversial condo project. The mass action at Rizal Park gathered about 200 participants on Friday. PHOTO BY JOAN BONDOC

The Knights of Rizal (KoR) challenged President Aquino to take a stand on the issues hounding the Torre de Manila condo project, as the organization staged a mass action on Friday demanding the structure’s demolition.

Jeremias Singson, KoR’s supreme commander, recalled that when Mr. Aquino received the honorary rank of Knight Grand Cross of Rizal in 2011, the President recognized the group’s “mandate to defend the patriotism” of Dr. Jose Rizal, as well as their being the “honor guard of his memory.”

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“We would like to remind him of the things he said to us. If what he said was really heartfelt, then he should sign [the petition] and take a stand against Torre de Manila,” Singson told the Inquirer after KoR members and supporters demolished a miniature model of the condo building in a program held at Quirino Grandstand.

Singson maintained that in the 2016 elections, cultural issues such as the Torre controversy should also be discussed. He added that the DMCI Homes project is a “test case” for government officials to determine how much they value the country’s patrimony, culture and heritage.

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The Knights have filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the removal of the condo for ruining the view of the Rizal Monument.

The Supreme Court last month ordered the construction suspended and set the oral arguments on the petition for July 21. But the Office of the Solicitor General on Friday asked for a postponement.

‘Touch me not’

Close to 200 people representing KoR, allied civic organizations and youth groups from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Rizal Technological University and the Philippine State College of Aeronautics came to participate in the solidarity walk calling for Torre de Manila’s demolition.

Most of them wore black shirts with the phrase “Touch Me Not” printed below an image of the Rizal Monument, while the back reads “#DemolishTorreDeManila.”

“Touch Me Not” is the English translation of “Noli Me Tangere,” the Latin title of one of the two Rizal novels that helped ignite the Philippine revolution against Spanish colonial rule.

Luis Angelo Abergas, a youth sector representative, said they had adopted that phrase as their response to proposals to just turn the Rizal Monument by 180 degrees so that its background would no longer include Torre.

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Abergas, who came from the University of Northern Philippines in Vigan, Ilocos Sur province, noted that the Torre de Manila issue should not just be a concern for youths based in Metro Manila, but for the whole country.

He added that “all of us have something to do and contribute” in preserving the country’s heritage.

KoR also launched yesterday a new online petition at Change.org calling for the condo building’s demolition. It aims to gather 20,000 signatures.

Asked for comment regarding Solicitor General Florin Hilbay’s petition to reset the oral arguments originally set for July 21, KoR’s spokesperson Xiao Chua said that “if the delay is necessary, so be it.”

Hilbay returned to the country on Thursday from The Hague, where he was part of the 35-member delegation at the UN Arbitral Tribunal who presented the country’s case in its maritime dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.

The Knights of Rizal (KoR) challenged President Aquino to take a stand on the issues hounding the Torre de Manila condo project, as the organization staged a mass action on Friday demanding the structure’s demolition.

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TAGS: DMCI, Jeremias Singson, Knights of Rizal, Luis Angelo Abergas, Luneta Park, P-Noy, Rizal Monument, Torre de Manila, Xiao Chua
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