(Part 2 — Rich in History and Heritage, deep in Political and Moral Crisis)
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.
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.
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)
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)
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)
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.
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.
- 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;
- Re-install, and rebuild the Monument of Jose Rizal/Inang Bayan, and repair the broken leg of Rizal’s Statue; and
- Restore the edifice and dignity of our Old Municipio cum Ancestral Home.