We support the call of Senator Robinhood Padilla for a Senate investigation into the eight-hour fire that razed the Manila Central Post Office Sunday night and left an initial damage estimate of P300 million.
“The Manila Central Post Office is a tangible representation of the nation’s culture and history, and its damage is a blow to the country’s cultural heritage,” Padilla said in Senate Resolution 627 filed Monday.
He added: “It is of public interest to provide policies that will prevent or mitigate the effect of fire and other hazards to protect and preserve our national cultural heritage.”
In his resolution, Padilla said the fire that destroyed the 97-year-old structure, declared an important cultural property in 2018, “underscores the vulnerability of our national cultural heritage to fire and other hazards and highlights the urgent need to revisit and assess the effectiveness of existing preservation and protection measures.
The Manila Central Post Office Building is an iconic neo-classical building designed in 1926 by American architects Ralph Doane and Tomas Mapua, and Filipino architect Juan Marcos de Guzman Arellano.
The Post Office building was known as the grandest building of its time and is currently known as one of the dominating landmarks in Metro Manila.
It was destroyed during World War II in 1945 but was rebuilt after the war in 1946, according to the Philippine Postal Corp.
This building is the center of the Philippine postal services and the headquarters of the former Bureau of Posts, later renamed “Postal Service Office.”
Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda, who chairs the Senate culture and the arts panel, also called on the authorities to investigate the cause of the fire to prevent this from happening again.
“It is indeed a tragic and heartbreaking incident… We must protect our historical sites such as this significant architectural heritage,” she said.
In a tweet, Senate finance committee chairman Sonny Angara said he was told by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri to work with the Department of Budget and Management to look for funds to help restore the Manila Central Postal Office.
“SP (Juan Miguel) Zubiri messaged that we have to work [with] the [B]udget [Department] towards finding funds to help restore the Post [O]ffice (which had a fire),” Angara said.
Earlier, Manila Mayor Honey Lacuna said they will restore the MCPO with the help of the national government.