Tall trou­ble

Pre­pare to be ‘pho­to­bombed’ by a build­ing the next time you’re at a his­toric mon­u­ment in the Philip­pines.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Travel -

A HIGH-RISE con­do­minium dubbed “the na­tional pho­to­bomber” will con­tinue to loom over a his­toric Philip­pine mon­u­ment af­ter the Supreme Court struck down a bid by con­ser­va­tion­ists to have it torn down. The par­tially-built 49-storey Torre de Manila, which pro­trudes over the sky­line of the cap­i­tal, has risen to over­shadow the tomb of na­tional hero Jose Rizal – one of the coun­try's most pho­tographed mon­u­ments.

Build­ing work has stalled for years af­ter con­ser­va­tion­ists brought a law­suit in 2014 com­plain­ing that the tower breached city build­ing codes, lead­ing the Supreme Court to is­sue an in­junc­tion pre­vent­ing its com­ple­tion while it re­viewed the case.

But in a state­ment it said it had no ju­ris­dic­tion over the is­sue.

“The Court also found that there is no law that pro­hibits the con­struc­tion of the chal­lenged Torre de Manila,” the court added.

DMCI, the de­vel­oper of the con­do­minium, said it “wel­comes the fair and just de­ci­sion of the Supreme Court” and an­nounced plans to re­sume work im­me­di­ately.

Pro­fes­sor Ian Morley, a his­to­rian of the Chi­nese Univer­sity of Hong Kong, who has stud­ied the case called the ver­dict “dis­ap­point­ing”, but said it was not sur­pris­ing given that the law gives lit­tle weight to her­itage ar­gu­ments.

“The de­ci­sion to­day is a le­gal prece­dent; it sets a marker where her­itage is on the con­text of Philip­pine na­tional de­vel­op­ment,” he told AFP.

The de­ci­sion was met with anger and de­ri­sion on so­cial me­dia.

“Sucks that the Philip­pine Supreme Court favours cor­po­rate in­ter­ests over re­spect for na­tional her­itage,” one critic posted on Twitter.

“It's a sad day for Jose Rizal, Manila and proper ur­ban plan­ning,” pop­u­lar tourist guide Car­los Cel­dran tweeted.

Rizal cam­paigned for re­forms un­der Span­ish colo­nial rule and was jailed and later ex­e­cuted in 1896 by fir­ing squad at the park that now holds his tomb and mon­u­ment. – AFP Relaxnews

The 49-storey Torre de Manila high-rise con­do­minium looms in the back­ground as seen from the Jose Rizal tomb and mon­u­ment at Luneta Park in Manila. — AFP

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