Not quite a few families from all walks of life trooped to Rizal Park, commonly known to us as Luneta, on Sunday in celebration of Father’s Day.
I’m certain a momentary rain shower did not dampen the “bonding time” with Dad but one thing surely did for some.
A freelance journalist-researcher friend of mine, who’s also a selfie junkie, complained about the “photo bomb” posed by the ghastly sight of the Torre de Manila in the background of Rizal Monument.
“It simply ruined the aesthetic quality of the sight, supposedly an inviolable site,” he said.
Not quite a few prominent groups agree, including the Knights of Rizal, who secured from the Supreme Court a temporary restraining order against the continued construction of the 46-storey condominium tower by the DMCI Homes Inc.
Arts and historical preservation agencies, as well as civic organizations, have denounced the developer of the multi-billion peso project, the giant DMCI headed by David M. Consunji for “peddling its influence” to thwart earlier legal challenges.
The National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) had rejected the project and issued a cease and desist order which DMCI ignored.
The Knights of Rizal argued that defacing the visual corridors of the monument violates laws mandating the protection and preservation of the Rizal Monument.
The laws cited include Republic Act 4846 (Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act), RA 7356 (law creating the National Commission for Culture and the Arts) and RA 10066 (National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 or an Act Providing for the Protection and Conservation of the National Cultural Heritage).
The petitioners also described the project as a “nuisance” as defined under Art. 694 of the Civil Code of the Philippines, stating that “a nuisance is any act, omission, establishment, condition of property or anything else which annoys or offends the senses; or shocks, defies or disregards decency or morality.”
Knights of Rizal also said DMCI failed to follow the procedure prescribed under Manila City Ordinance 8119, or the Zoning Ordinance of Manila, for obtaining the zoning and building permits.
The construction, now on its 41st floor, towers over the city’s “institutional university cluster” along Taft Ave., Ayala St. and San Marcelino St.
It is disgusting that former Mayor Alfredo Lim and Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada have resorted to childish finger-pointing and name-calling over the building permit given to DMCI.
Clearly, there was an irregularity when the DMCI was originally given a permit to build a seven-storey structure and now, when the developer continued to raise it to 46 storeys.
Both the city engineers during Lim’s term and Estrada’s administration should be investigated and charged accordingly.
Nasaan na si PNoy at DILG Secretary Mar Roxas na umepal sa Valenzuela Kentex building permit controversy?
The United States Philippine Commission on Sept. 28, 1901 approved Commonwealth Act No. 243, which mandated the erection of a monument in Luneta to commemorate the memory of national hero José Rizal.
Swiss sculptor Richard Kissling designed the shrine on which Rizal’s poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” (“My Last Farewell”) is inscribed on the memorial plaque.
In 1902, Governor-General William Taft commissioned architect Daniel Burnham to do the city plan of Manila and chose Luneta as the location of the new government center.
The Old Legislative Building was envisioned to become its core, surrounded by other government buildings.
Burnham’s vision was inspired by the design of the Washington Capitol and National Park in the District of Colombia where no edifice or structure taller than the Washington Monument is allowed to be constructed.
In 1955, President Ramon Magsaysay signed Proclamation No. 234 declaring Luneta a national park, covering an area of 17 hectares, which is now administered by the National Parks Development Committee under the Department of Tourism.
The Rizal Monument is manned by honor guards from the Philippine Marine Corps’ Marine Security and Escort Group.
Unfortunately, the ceremonial sentries cannot do much to protect this national shrine from sacrilege without the national government lifting a finger.