The dioce­san com­mit­tee that checked the struc­ture found it to be old and pos­ing a dan­ger to the pub­lic Mon­signor Tan says the arch­dio­cese needs to max­i­mize the prop­erty’s in­come to ful­fill sev­eral obli­ga­tions


The ap­peals of her­itage ad­vo­cates not to de­stroy the Patria de Cebu be­cause of its his­tor­i­cal value have fallen on deaf ears.

Cebu Arch­bishop Jose Palma said the planned de­mo­li­tion of the build­ing will push through, adding that the struc­ture is old and poses a dan­ger to oc­cu­pants.

He said these were the find­ings of the dioce­san com­mit­tee that looked into the Cebu Land­mas­ters Inc.’s (CLI) pro­posal to build an in­te­grated re­tail, of­fice and ho­tel struc­ture on the spot.

“Ac­cord­ing to them, there are de­grees of be­ing her­itage, of be­ing his­tor­i­cal with the pass­ing of time. While it has mean­ing for many, but for our com­mit­tee it has reached the point that the build­ing is dan­ger­ous be­cause of its age,” said Palma after the mass for the feast of Our Lady of Im­mac­u­late Con­cep­tion at the Cebu Metropoli­tan Cathe­dral on Satur­day, Dec. 8.

Palma said he al­ready for­warded the let­ter he re­ceived from Melva Java, an ar­chi­tect, and Eileen Man­gu­bat, a for­mer news­pa­per edi­tor, to CLI.

In the let­ter, Java and Man­gu­bat ap­pealed to Palma and mem­bers of the Arch­dioce­san Com­mis­sion on Cul­tural Her­itage of the Church not to push through with the de­mo­li­tion of the Patria, say­ing there are alternative de­signs that will pre­serve the struc­ture and at the same time max­i­mize the eco­nomic ben­e­fits of the lo­ca­tion with com­ple­men­tary mod­ern and com­mer­cial build­ings.

But Palma said the CLI’s ar­chi­tect could not guar­an­tee that the Patria would sur­vive if it was in­te­grated into a new build­ing.

“The build­ing be­ing old, the Patria is not guar­an­teed to be earth­quake-proof. It was not de­clared earth­quake-proof. So what if we build a new build­ing and the old struc­ture will col­lapse?” he said in Ce­buano.

The arch­bishop added that the two-story, 64-year-old Patria build­ing is no longer pre­sentable and prac­ti­cal.

The Patria, which was orig­i­nally built to be a re­cre­ation cen­ter for the Catholic youth, is be­ing rented out by the arch­dio­cese to out-of-town­ers.

CLI will lease the prop­erty for 40 years and build a 14-story build­ing that will op­er­ate as a ho­tel with re­tail spaces and a six-story build­ing that will house a su­per­mar­ket and sev­eral of­fices on the 6,670-square-meter lot.

The con­tract was signed last Oct. 29 by Palma and Jose Sober­ano III, wherein the de­vel­oper re­mit­ted P50 mil­lion to the arch­dio­cese as rent dur­ing the con­struc­tion phase in the next four years.

As for the Ave Maria blocks that were used to con­struct the Patria, Palma said a lot of prayers are usu­ally in­volved in the build­ing of struc­tures that are re­li­gious in na­ture.

In a sep­a­rate in­ter­view, Msgr. Joseph Tan, the arch­dio­cese’s spokesman, said one of the rea­sons the arch­dio­cese de­cided to lease the prop­erty to CLI is that the for­mer has some fi­nan­cial and moral obli­ga­tions.

Aside from mak­ing sure priests with med­i­cal ail­ments get hos­pi­tal care, the arch­dio­cese also pro­vides sev­eral sub­si­dies and shoul­ders the op­er­a­tional costs of the sem­i­nary as well as the salaries of the cat­e­chists, among oth­ers.

Tan re­vealed that priests don’t have med­i­cal in­sur­ance, so the arch­dio­cese has to shoul­der their hos­pi­tal ex­penses when they get sick.

He added that the Vat­i­can gave the arch­dio­cese the goa­head to make max­i­mum use of the lat­ter’s prop­er­ties. /


OUT WITH THE OLD. The Patria de Cebu will soon be de­mol­ished to make way for an in­te­grated re­tail, of­fice and ho­tel struc­ture.

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