After more than 30 hours, fire authorities officially declared the blaze at the historic Manila Central Post Office tapped out.
Meanwhile, Senate Finance committee chairman Juan Edgardo Angara said he was directed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to work with the budget department following the post office fire.
At the Lower House, Surigao del Norte Rep. Robert Ace Barbers urged the national government to rebuild the Central Post Office for its historical significance, cultural heritage and national pride, with the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) taking the lead role.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), in an update report, said the conflagration was over at i6:33 a.m. Tuesday.
Fifteen people, most of them firefighters, were reported hurt due while trying to put out the fire that broke out late Sunday night. Their injuries ranged from lacerations to first-degree burns.
Some of the firemen also felt dizziness and chest pains.
The BFD estimated the damage at P300 million, saying at least two structures of the complex burned to the ground.
Manila Fire District chief of intelligence and investigation division senior inspector Alejandro Ramos said they had to make sure that the fire would not rekindle.
Ramos said the extreme heat and lack of ventilation in the basement of the iconic post office was a problem for the firefighters.
Arson probers were still trying to determine the cause of the 30-hour fire.
Philippine Postal Corp. (PHLPost) chief Luis Carlos said the stamps in the museum, the Manila Central Post Office building itself, and their records are among the most valuable things that burned.
“We have to work with the budget department towards finding funds to help restore the Manila Post office, Angara said.
“I agree it’s a national treasure, designed by national artist Juan Arellano,” added Angara.
Angara said this is the foremost reason why the Manila Post Office should be restored. It is a part of our history.
Meanwhile, Senate President pro tempore Loren Legarda called on authorities to dig deeper into the fire to avoid a recurrence of the incident.
She underscored the need to afford protectiin to historical sites especially important architectural heritage.
She was saddened by what happened to Manila Central Post Office which was declared an Important Cultural Property (ICP).
“The structure was declared as an Important Cultural Property in 2018 by the National Museum, for its exceptional cultural, artistic and historical significance. We should restore it as a symbol of our national pride,” Barbers said.
He noted that great Filipino architects Juan Arellano and Tomas Mapua designed the Manila Central Post Office.
“The fact that the structure was built by great Filipino architects Juan Arellano and Tomas Mapua is reason enough for its rebuilding and restoration. It is proudly Filipino made,” Barbers said.
Once rebuilt, Barbers said building may serve various purposes apart from postal services.
“If and when restored, it can house many government agencies. With modern technology, not only postal services may use it. In this digital and virtual reality age, even offices dealing with artificial
intelligence may be housed in the building, situated right in the heart of the nation. It can be a one-stop shop that can greatly benefit our people,” Barbers said.
“In its rebuilding and restoration, meticulous planning and resources should be allotted to fire control. In this day and age, buildings should be equipped with state of the art fire control system to save lives and property. It is appalling to see a historical landmark situated right beside the big Pasig river, destroyed by fire of this magnitude,” he added.