Press Release
November 21, 2018

...says project to impact Manila tourism, heritage sites

Senator Nancy Binay today expressed concern on the possible impact on Manila's tourism and heritage sites if the planned construction of a bridge linking Intramuros and Binondo pushes through.

In August this year, Binay filed Senate Resolution No. 813 urging the body to investigate the possible impacts of the bridge on several heritage sites in the city.

"Dapat po meron munang mga study tulad ng geological and environmental impact assessments, cultural heritage impact assessment on the planned project. Kailangang pag-aralang mabuti kung ano ang magiging impact pagdating sa tourism at heritage sites ng Manila ng pinaplanong tulay," Binay said.

In September, Binay raised the issue to both DPWH Sec. Mark Villar and officials of the Intramuros Administration (IA) to come up with a comprehensive impact assessment and engineering interventions to lessen repercussions of the project on heritage sites.

"Isang mahalagang parte ng tourism program ng ating pamahalaan ang Intramuros, kung kaya't malaking kawalan sa atin kung may negative impact dito ang development," Binay, the chairman of the Senate committee on tourism, said.

The China-funded bridge will link Solano Street in Intramuros with San Fernando St. in Binondo. It is part of the government's "Build, Build, Build" program.

Sites that will be possibly affected by the bridge's construction, according to ICOMOS Philippines, are the Intendencia or Aduana Building, the Ayuntamiento Building, the American-era Chamber of Commerce Building and Plaza Mexico in Intramuros; and the Estero de Binondo and Puente de San Fernando or Puente Blanco in Binondo.

The Unesco National Commission (Unacom), meanwhile, said that the bridge will encroach on the buffer zone UNESCO requires for San Agustin Church, a UNESCO world heritage site.

"Nakakabahala rin ang sinasabing posibleng delisting ng simbahan ng San Agustin sa listahan ng UNESCO dahil sa posibleng encroachment sa buffer zone nito," Binay said.

"Isa pang posibleng impact ay sa aplikasyon ng Intramuros na mapasama sa listahan ng UNESCO heritage site," she added.

Binay called on the DPWH, IA, and other government cultural, historical and tourism agencies to sit down with other stakeholders such as heritage conservation groups to thresh out concerns and arrive at informed decisions regarding the issue.

"Dapat po DPWH at ang Intramuros Administration ang manguna dito. Maganda pong upuan ng lahat ng stakeholders at tingnan maigi lahat ng anggulo upang makarating sa win-win solutions pagdating sa tulay na ito. Madali pong gumawa ng tulay pero malaking kawalan kung masasakripisyo naman po ang kasaysayan at kultura ng lugar," Binay said.

"Hindi po tayo tutol sa development, pero dapat po lahat ay makinabang sa development na ito," she added.

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