Heritage | Culture | History | Faith

Anomalous Provincial Hospital project as the veil to demolish Taytay Heritage

(Part 2 — Rich in History and Heritage, deep in Political and Moral Crisis)

Part 1 of this is the narrative on the historicity of the subject Taytay Old Municipio.

This Part 2 exposes the real thing as a vicious attack on Taytayeño’s Heritage, veiled with the avowed benefits of having the biggest “Provincial Hospital” in Taytay as it crushes to the ground our Old Municipio. Other Heritage buildings and structures will follow next if not vigorously opposed.

The Rizal Provincial Hospital System (RPHS) project is clouded with anomalies. It is not what the LGU high officials say it is; that “they intend to serve the most number of constituents, especially the poor.” If it was so, they should have chosen the most suitable, conducive, and accessible location for the poor like in the vast Muzon property, in the marginalized and populous Floodway-Lupang Arenda, near New Municipio at Club Manila East, or along the stretch of the spacious vicinity of Hi-way 2000. Not the combined sites of the Old Municipio, San Juan Gym, and the Emergency Hospital.

The “Project” is the worst kind of putting the cart before the horse, and also prejudicial and extremely detrimental to Taytayeño Heritage.

For the longest time, and despite demands from concerned townspeople, there was no full public disclosure of the said project. No public consultation was ever conducted. No legitimate presentation of Site Development nor Building Plan. No Feasibility Studies and a lot more important documents are up for hunting as they are very hard to acquire; they are almost inaccessible and unavailable for perusal and honest-to-goodness scrutiny. The public is kept in the dark. Too late the public realized that hell was coming.

Now we know that everything has long been premeditated. The first attempt was the Taytay Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Resolution #140, series of 2009 that “authorized Mayor Gacula to negotiate a ‘Build-Operate-Transfer’ (BOT) scheme of private/commercial nature for the Old Municipal Building.” This BOT scheme was approved by then Rizal Governor Jun Ynares on Dec. 21, 2009. It was concurred by the Provincial Government through its Development Council Resolution No. 2009-11Take notice that in principle, BOT enables one “to demolish the old in order to build something new.” (Resolution #140, series of 2009)
However, that same year, the new-of-a-kind RA 10066 or Heritage Law was enacted. It stood as the legal impediment to executing the BOT scheme—for according to law, the old Municipio is now a protected Heritage. The plan was stalled for some time.

The SB Resolution #119, series of 2012 (Oct 11, 2012) was crafted. It “re-affirmed Mayor Gacula to execute and carry out [that BOT scheme of] SB Resolution #140 with concurrence by the Provincial Government.” The Old Municipio building was under threat again. But that did not catch the wits and attention of many. Somehow fortunate that the execution was stalled again when somebody else (Janet DL-Mercado) assumed mayoral office for the next 3 years (2013-2016). (SB Resolution #119, series of 2012)

The Ynareses simply took turns at the helm of the Provincial Government. Mayor Gacula regained the mayoral post in 2016. The disposal of the Old Municipio was repackaged.

On August 7, 2019, Mayor Gacula announced the “plan to build a Provincial Hospital in Barangay Muzon where a vast tract of land is owned by the Taytay Municipal Government.” A Sports Complex Project is also underway in the area. Purportedly, Mayor Gacula and Gov. Rebecca Ynares already conducted the ocular inspection carrying with them the supposed Site development and Building plans of the Provincial Hospital. (Though the target for the inaugural groundbreaking was December of 2019, it was done earlier in November.) (Aug 7, 2019, Facebook post)

It was only after 13-days, on August 20, 2019, that Taytay Sangguniang Bayan adopted SB Resolution #15, series of 2019 “requesting Gov. Ynares to construct and manage a Provincial General Hospital within the jurisdiction of Taytay Municipality.”  (Resolution #15, series of 2019)

After another 13-days, on Sept. 2, 2019, Rizal Sangguniang Panlalawigan passed SP Resolution #421, series of 2019, “approving Rizal Provincial Hospital System Taytay (RPHS) Annex—three possible locations: Old Municipal Building, Kalayaan Park, Muzon property near Taytay Sports Complex, and for other purposes.”

Take note of the switching: the Muzon property placed at the last, while the Old Municipio now suddenly appeared and even notched the first choice. (Resolution #421, series of 2019) 

Passed 15-days, on September 17, 2019, SB Resolution #74, series of 2019, created a tricky package by “confirming the Old Municipal Bldg, Taytay Emergency Hospital, San Juan Gym and the road between the said establishments as the site for the RPHS.” Tax Dec #18-TY-002-08242 w/ area of 1,978 sq. meters, and Tax Dec 18-TY-001-12950 w/ area of 1,530 sq. meters. [Total area = 3,508 sq. meters.] The road indicated is J. Sumulong Street.

The introduction of the Old Municipal Building served as the Trojan Horse to include the Emergency Hospital, San Juan Gym, and the sneaky “for other purposes” (to include the appropriation of adjoining road/s to gain more areas for the Provincial Hospital Project). The encroachment to Heritage Property has grabbed a much wider scope. (Resolution #74, series of 2019)

Consider this: the property in Muzon has a total area of 13 hectares, and the Sports Complex Project has been allotted 6 hectares. In comparison, the 3,508 sq. meters area of the packed Old Municipio-Gym-Emergency Hospital site at Gitnang Bayan is only a measly less than 20% of the remaining wide open and still available 7 hectares.

It is beyond any stretch of the imagination that such a supposed Tertiary Hospital with a 245-bed capacity could pass the stringent requirements and qualifying standards for it to be suited to the dense and busiest Gitnang Bayan environs. It stands as the craziest ever “hospital construction project and development concept” without the must-participation of the Department of Health and DPWH.

Just another 7-days after SB Resolution #74, the SB Resolution #78, series of 2019, followed-up on September 24, 2019, indicating that “Tax Dec #18-TY-002-08242 and # 18-TY-001-12950 are located at Rizal Avenue, Sumulong Street, J. Asilo St., and Morga Street.” Then deviously tucked the reckless provisos, to wit:

  • Removal of any unnecessary building or structure [which by inference the buildings of Emergency Hospital, San Juan Gym, Old Municipio, and the ICP-registered Monument of Rizal-Inang Bayan included];
  • Necessary clearance and permit in the use of municipal roads surrounding and/or adjoining subject parcels of land [practically means, closure/appropriation of Sumulong Street, J. Asilo Street, Morga Street; and probably would include the portions of the main thoroughfare Rizal Avenue sooner or later depending on their whim and caprice]; and
  • To include in the 2020 Annual Budget are the Funds for this avowed purpose [that surely includes demolition, and an endless list of incidentals of mobilization, transfer of offices, etc. No wonder that chaos was evident during the hasty and “emergency” evacuation, and transfer of Office occupants of the Old Municipio when demolition started on Nov 20, 2020—as the yearly cut-off of funds ends in December.] (Resolution #78, series of 2019)   
After another 14-days, on October 8, 2019, SB Resolution #84, series of 2019, the Resolution Title again is the subdued mantra of the “Sites and corresponding Tax Declarations.” This Resolution superseded the previous SB Resolution #74SB Resolution #78. But the killer-punch is in the proviso inserted down below that states “the Municipal Government shall be responsible for the removal of any building and structure, and the necessary clearance and permit in the use of roads surrounding and/or adjoining subject parcels of land.”  The word “REMOVAL” remained as the sugar-coated offense. (Resolution #84, series of 2019)

SB Ordinance #18, series of 2020 was out on February 11, 2020. It declared “the permanent closure of M.C. Ison Street, beginning from the corner of Sumulong Street up to the corner of Rizal Avenue, bounded by Brgy. Dolores and Brgy. San Isidro.” (Ordinance #18, series of 2020)

Now, to enclose all the areas appropriated for the Project site would reveal the magnitude of the damage it would affect the center of the entire vicinity of the Heritage zone. Not even the timid Church—a registered Important Cultural Property (ICP)—would be spared of the devastation of her religious practices and traditions. (Project Site Plan and Vicinity Map)

The site for the “proposed Hospital” to destroy the main Heritage area at the center of Taytay town. Massive discharge of toxic waste looms.
Lacking proper administrative guidance, expert advice, and basic procedural requirements, Municipal Engr. Ronald San Juan unilaterally declared the “Old Municipal Building as condemned in 2001 and 2007 and recommended for demolition” only on Aug 5, 2020. He was not even the Municipal Engineer in 2001 then. (Condemnation and Demolition, 5 Aug 2020) There were not any documents offered to support the adverse claim, however. Therein also alleged that “the building was renovated by the previous 3-year Administration of Mayor DL-Mercado spending P16M in 2016…but even then with substandard materials and of sloppy construction.”
Just after 13 days of declaring the Old Municipal Building as condemned and for demolitionSB Resolution #220 “authorized Mayor Gacula to cause the demolition of the Old Municipal Building” on Aug. 18, 2020. All Councilors approved the demolition.
Surprisingly, SB Resolution #220 which was supposed “only an excerpt from an online meeting on Aug 18, 2020,” was posted only on the Official 11th Sanggunian Facebook page on December 5, 2020, a day after they replied to the NHCP Letter-Notice dated November 20, 2020, in the query of the demolition being conducted by Taytay LGU.
Taytay Old Municipio: LGU continues illegal demolition without let-up despite the Cease and Desist Order of NHCP dated Dec. 11, 2020.

At least and at last, after ten months of its official conduct of business, the Municipio officials’ word “REMOVAL” has metamorphosed to “DEMOLITION” now that they are engaged in the vigorous actual conduct of demolition. (Resolution #220, series of 2020)

The culprits in demolishing the honor and pride of Taytayeño Heritage.
The LGU had the temerity to suddenly pull out of its sleeves before the NHCP an “Appraisal Review Report dated June 9, 2020” (which was dated earlier than their declaration of condemnation and demolition!) declaring that the value of the Old Municipal Building was only PhP 13,306.42(Appraisal Review Report, 9 June 2020) But, how would they explain the tens of volumes of acetylene tanks they consumed to cut volumes of massive metal/steels embedded in the reinforced concrete structures; the tons upon tons of metal/steel scraps from the torn down post-war structures hauled by the ten-wheeler trucks of the Policarpio Demolition Contractor? This gigantic bulk of scraps undervalued to Php 13,306.42 could be the biggest business deal of all time in the demolition-construction project in Taytay—aside from related mobilization/consequences benefits from big-budget appropriations. (Tons of steel/metal scraps, acetylene tanks)
Even though the Site Development and Building Plan have not been presented to the public, the Provincial Hospital Project has been offered for bidding and finally awarded by the Provincial Government to the private Contractor as shown in the Notice of Award dated 7 December 2020. (Notice of Award, 7 Dec 2020) Five days after, on December 10—the international day of celebration of Human Rights—the Monument of Rizal and Inang Bayan was torn down. (Photos of the Rizal-Inang Bayan Monument)   

Everything the Taytay LGU has was thrown but the kitchen sink to justify the illegal demolition in furtherance of the anomalous “Proposed Provincial Hospital Project” despite the Letter-Notice dated 20 November 2020 and the Cease and Desist Order dated 11 December 2020 by the NHCP.

In the end, the Old Municipio site had been leveled to ground zero as of Dec. 30, 2020, the 124th year of commemoration of the martyrdom of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal. The Old Municipal Building structure was demolished. The Monument was crushed, and the statues of Jose Rizal and Inang Bayan were missing; while that of Rizal was marred with a broken legTwo Heritage properties were thus desecrated and robbed; truly demolished and condemned to the hilt. (Demolished Old Municipio and Monument)
If all the current Municipio Officials have the gall to do such a dastard act to their forebears, nothing could dissuade them from putting to guillotine our other Historical and Heritage sites—the Plaza Libertad where the San Juan Gym and Emergency Hospital now stand.

Now, therefore, we invoke the time-honored principle of parens patriae for the State Authority—higher and more powerful than the Municipal and Provincial Government—for us powerless ordinary citizens to be protected with our God-given and historical rights to Taytayeño Heritage.

The Taytayeños, and with the Taytay Advocates of Cultural Heritage (TACH), stand fast united to demand Justice:
  1. Let the Cease and Desist Order dated 11 December 2020 be enforced motu proprio to include the Plaza Libertad (San Juan Gym, Emergency Hospital, and adjoining roads); and in unequivocal terms, the NHCP to rule as to declare that the anomalous Proposed Provincial Hospital Project is an encroachment to Taytayeños’ Heritage that has to be stopped;
  2. Re-install, and rebuild the Monument of Jose Rizal/Inang Bayan, and repair the broken leg of Rizal’s Statue; and
  3. Restore the edifice and dignity of our Old Municipio cum Ancestral Home.