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“People Power: Save Historic Loay Municipio SOONEST!”

“People Power: Save Historic Loay Municipio SOONEST!”

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“People Power: Save Historic Loay Municipio SOONEST!”

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boholano-thumbThis is my support of the view of Cherry Ballescas and her group, not my original view. And I am urging Dr. Maris Diokno, Chair of the National Historical Commission to support their view. Cherry Ballescas is a Boholano scholar who is working in Japan. Here follows her view and Perspective column that was carried by The Freeman, Cebu on February 25, 2016.

“In 1986, exactly 30 years ago, on this historic day, the Filipino people rejoiced after launching a nonviolent People Power Revolution that successfully ousted the dictator Marcos!  The millions in EDSA as well as all others throughout the Philippines bravely faced the threat of guns and tanks of the dictatorship.

“Faith for fear, lives ready to be offered for freedom.  Tama na, sobra na was the battlecry.  The dictator Marcos had overstayed his abusive rule.  It was time for the Filipino people to assert their power and their strong desire for freedom.

“February 25, 1986.  That was a very proud moment for all Filipinos.  The world witnessed a beautiful bloodless revolution of Filipino unity, faith, and courage.

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“February 18 of this year, the concerned residents of Loay, Bohol staged a protest and outrage about the demolition of their Loay Municipio, their municipal hall.  This protest followed a February 17 petition filed by Rogelio Ganzon and other concerned Loay citizens for a cease and desist order with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to protect “the Loay Town Hall constructed during the time of Civil Governor Aniceto Clarin in the 1800s.”

“As an important historical and cultural heritage not only of Loay but of the whole province of Bohol, the petitioners and protesters lament the absence of public consultation and transparency about the ongoing demolition of the valuable municipio.  The petitioners and protesters are calling on all Boholanos and supporters to protect the municipio from “the ones who are currently holding power who have utter and reckless disregard of history and culture…”

“To more fully understand the present protest in Loay, Bohol, the following is a chronological review of events that led to the ongoing demolition of the Loay municipio shared by a concerned Boholano : “ (1) October 15, 2013- the Bohol earthquake damaged the Santisima Trinidad Church along with various edifices like campanario (bell tower), infrastructure (roads and bridges, pier, peoples’ housing, etc); (2) July 31, 2014, the Bohol Earthquake Assistance (BEA) was set up by DILG to provide funds for LGUs (Local Government Units) to rebuild damaged infrastructures: (3) Various dates- the Loay, Bohol LGU received a total of P158 million from BEA (source: http://openreconstruction.gov.ph/gov-units/27607/requests/; with P32.5 million earmarked for the rehabilitation of Loay Municipal Hall (BEA ID 6675).  Please note the operative word is “rehabilitation”; (4) Nov. 10, 2014- the Loay Sangguniang Bayan (SB)- Municipal Council approved Resolution 12-165-2014 calling for rehabilitation of Municipal Hall.  It was signed by 2 opposition councilors (Jescelo Adiong and Hilario Ayuban).; (5) Nov. 17, 2014- in the absence of the said 2 opposition councilors, the Loay SB approved Resolution 12-186-2014, changing term from “rehabilitation” to “demolition”; (6) October 15, 2015- the DPWH declared failed bid (source:http://www.dpwh.gov.ph/post/ cw/pdf/cw/notice/15/october/Cancellation%20 No.%20015-15.pdf; (7) January 23, 2016- the demolition of Loay Municipal Hall was started by Square Cube Construction reportedly owned by Franklin Olaer.- the same construction firm responsible for the demolition of Loay Public market.”

“These events were followed by the February 17th petition for cease and desist order, then the February 18 the protest of Loay residents.  A Cease and Desist Order (CDO) was issued February 19 by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), signed by Chairperson Maria Serena Diokno and received by last-termer Loay Mayor Imboy.  Despite the CDO, reports from February 20 noted that the demolition still proceeded and is on-going.

“Why is the demolition being rushed, without public consultation and years after the destructive earthquake?  As one Boholano professional remarked: “if indeed the structure was compromised by the earthquake, then the municipal hall employees were subjected to working in a hazardous environment for more than 2 years!”

“Why is the demolition proceeding despite the CDO and the protest of Loay residents?  Can the Boholanos and those who honor history and culture please show their support SOONEST please to preserve whatever is left of the his torical Loay Municipio?  May we call on local and national media to cover, document, and possibly stop this demolition of this historical structure?

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“Please stop the ongoing demolition! Please protect and preserve our historical heritage NOW na please!

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(email at cballescas@yahoo.com)

Certainly, we Boholanos should protect and preserve our cultural and historical heritage as part of our national and provincial identity. (By Jose “Pepe” Abueva)

My email is pepevabueva@gmail.com

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