What the earthquake failed to destroy, man has succeeded.
A century old building is now in ruins after it was demolished to give way to three new classrooms even as the limestone blocks from the ruins were carted to a nearby construction site to be used as replacement of damaged walls of a church tower.
Rodrigo Guiritan, Property Custodian blew the whistle on the alleged destruction over DYRD “Inyong Alagad” after he was ignored by DEPED officials and the contractor of the nearby Panglao Watch Tower who allegedly supervised the demolition of the old structure.
But DEPED Bohol Schools Superintendent Wilfreda Bongalos flatly denied that any structure within the school complex was demolished or destroyed and assured that if ever any piece or part of the old structures is damaged it will be restored to its original condition.
Deeply depressed by this Â sad turn of events, concerned residents of Panglao have denounced the destruction of two buildings that formed part of an architectural landmark in the town plaza.
“It is sad to think that an old structure in a school complex was demolished with the limestone blocks used to renovate the Panglao watch tower”. an old timer who refused to be identified told the Chronicle.
Fr. Milan Ted Torralba, a Boholano, heritage advocate, canon lawyer and executive secretary of the CBCP’s Permanent Committee for the Cultural Heritage of the Church texted the Chronicle upon learning of the incident “The whole complex was declared as an important cultural property by the National Museum on August 29, 2011”.
If these structures were deliberately demolished or destroyed this is against RA 1006 or the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009″, Torralba stressed.
Atty Lucille Karen Isberto, head of the NCCA National Committee on Monuments and Sites when told by the Chronicle of the demolition said “there should be a test case filed against the perpetrators and this should be reported to the NCCA”.
The demolition of the early 19th-century structures was allegedly carried out in broad daylight with workers lugging the remains of century old limestone blocks to an ongoing conservation and restoration project of another century old Panglao Watch Tower funded by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts.
Carlos Panagdangan, construction worker who hails from Carcar, Cebu told the Chronicle that it took them several days to pound the old building with the limestone blocks carried to the watch tower site a few meters away.
“Gisugo man mi sa among amo nga gub-on ang maong building ug ang mga ginuba nga mga concretong bloke among dad-on sa among site aron maoy among itapak o plaster” (we were told by our employer to demolish the building and bring the limestone blocks to our site to used to plaster the walls of the tower)
The construction site of the Panglao Watch Tower was littered with blocks of limestone when the Chronicle visited the ruins together with Romulo Taga-an, head of the Center for Culture and Arts Development (CCAD) Office of the Provincial Goverment.
Provincial Administrator Alfonso Damalerio upon learning about the alleged destruction of the old buildings ordered Taga-an to conduct an ocular inspection to validate the report.
The school complex was built by the Spaniards to house a library and classrooms is also the site of the old municipal building. The management of the old municipal and school complex was turned over to former Department of Education Culture and Sports (DECS) in 1999 through a grant of usufruct rights.
The demolition of the old buildings brings to mind the statement of the leader of theTaliban Islamic militia in Afghanistan reacting to international condemnation of his order to destroy ancient Buddhist statues saying “all we are breaking are stones”.(CMV)