Heritage | Culture | History | Faith

The rape of Taytay’s heritage rights

 

WE CRY FOR JUSTICE as we condemn with the strongest possible terms the illegal and immoral destruction of our historical and cultural heritage, our basic human rights.

In our case, the necessary and reglementary public consultations never did happen. The townspeople’s appeals for the due process were flatly rejected. Not even the letter-notice of National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) Chairman Dr. Rene R. Escalante dated 20 November 2020 could dissuade our local government to commit offenses. Despite having no valid permit and notice to present or display in public, the demolition of heritage structures continues unabated.

The LGU justifies its action by claiming that the Old Municipio cum Ancestral Home “has no historical value,” and is not found in the heritage Registry, aside from arbitrarily declaring it as a “condemned building apt for hasty demolition.”

The statue/monument of Dr. Jose Rizal with Inang Bayan in front of the Municipio was not spared; it was also torn down last December 10, while International Human Rights Day was being celebrated. The statue has been in existence since the 1950s and older than the original structure of the old Municipio itself. It is described as “729–Jose Rizal (1861-1896)/ Marked Structure, NHCP / Tangible-Immovable” on the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP) National Inventories (2018-02-01).

The Gym–originally the Plaza Libertad–fronting the Old Municipio and the Taytay Church are adjacent to each other as had been conceived by way of the quadricula grid pattern of early Hispanic civilization.

Like the Old Municipio, the Plaza Libertad is not listed in the Registry of Cultural Property. However, the Taytay Church is listed and described as “876 / Simbahan ng Taytay / Marked Structure, NHCP / Tangible-Immovable” at PRECUP National Inventories (2018-02-01). As such, the Church is a stakeholder in this matter.
The Church and its faithful will be adversely affected since the major roadway (Juan Sumulong Street) that is common to the Old Municipio, Plaza Libertad, and the St. John the Baptist Parish Church will be closed for it to be included in the scope area of a soon-to-rise questionable Rizal Provincial Hospital Annex. Such is gravely inimical to religious traditions and practices, as well as civil and cultural affairs.

There’s an urgent need to conduct a consultation with the public as the common good is the goal of public service. It’s the legal and moral duty of the authorities in relation to their constituency.

Now that the Taytay Advocates of Cultural Heritage (TACH) has stepped forward in the arena of public interest, there’s but a high mountain it needs to scale in the quest for justice and defense of Taytay’s historical and cultural heritage.

And there’s no turning back. But, thou shall not forget that heritage advocates journey a difficult path, and fight on high moral ground.

Defying all odds, we say: TULOY ANG LABAN!