Heritage sites must be equipped with modern fire prevention systems, Sen. Francis Tolentino said Thursday in the wake of the blaze that gutted the historic Manila Central Post Office last Sunday.
“It’s about time that modern fire prevention systems as part of the National Building Code should be placed along heritage sites across the country,” he said.
“The lesson learned should be – these kinds of buildings are not equipped with modern firefighting devices,” said Tolentino.
He stressed that the Post Office fire should be a wake-up call for authorities to assess the current state of existing heritage sites in the country—including those owned by private individuals—since these historic structures are the silent witnesses of the Philippines’ glorious past.
Originally built in 1926 and finished in 1928, the Manila Central Post Office building is a masterpiece of renowned Filipino architects Juan M. Arellano and Tomás Mapúa.
The building was severely damaged in the latter part of the Second World War—during the Liberation of Manila. It was subsequently rebuilt in 1946 while retaining most of its original design.
Tolentino was saddened that responders failed to prevent the fire from tearing down the almost-century-old neoclassical structure despite the building standing just beside the Pasig River.
“We also have fireboats that we can use in (putting out) the fire — we just need water pumps,” he added.