I’m no longer surprised when I see demolished old government buildings. Next to the classic Filipino house, old Municipal buildings are greatly subjected to neglect and eventual destruction. There are number of reason why local governments elect to destroy existing old buildings. Most consider it impractical to maintain, others feel that it had already served its purpose and that its time for a bigger modern building with more offices that could accommodate more government business.
Obviously we’re missing something in our understanding of how to treat the issue of old run down government buildings. Because if we are to replace them all, which is what we are witnessing today, then we are fast replacing tangible history with steel and glass.
And we’ve lost a considerable number of old municipal buildings (most are 50 to 80 year old structures).
Is this the price we are willing to pay for modernization?
Sure, there are safety concerns that must be addressed but the manner by which these buildings are demolished without consultations with the community and historical authorities are alarming to say the least.
While other countries are scampering to save what’s left of their old districts, buildings and monuments – we casually destroy ours.
Perhaps, there are reasons beyond my comprehension. I’m not saying what Baler officials did was wrong or bad. If the locals agreed to this changes–then I rest my case.
As a people, we have to seriously reassess where we are heading with our continued obsession for removing everything except those that we see modern. Confused as we are as to what is true Filipino history, without tangible historical structures, we’ll become more ignorant of who we are. The more ignorant we become of our history, the less free we become as a people.
Speaking of old municipal halls, Bauan’s recently made news after the local government made known their plan to build a new building to replace it. Fortunately, the people together with heritage conservation advocates stepped in. Good thing is that the local government has shown willingness to listen and preserve their art deco building. There are on going consultations with experts on how to deal with the issue (incorporating the old building with the new one is an option that is being studied).