The country’s heritage agency is not in favor of the planned construction of a Masonic obelisk at a historic public plaza, right across a Catholic cathedral.
The National Historical Commission of the Philippines said the Quezon Park is not the appropriate place for the project.
“NHCP has declared all Spanish and American colonial period plazas and public squares in the country as national historical sites,” said Dr. Rene Escalante, NHCP chairman.
The NHCP official’s statement was contained in a letter response dated Dec. 17 to city mayor Felipe Antonio Remollo and the Dumaguete Cathedral’s Parish Pastoral Council.
The parish council has earlier petitioned the NHCP to disallow the construction of the 18-storey “tower”.
Escalante said the NHCP Board of Commissioners “are not in favor” of the project anywhere “within the public plaza of Dumaguete City.”
“NHCP is not against the project per se but it should be constructed in an alternative site with a zoning classification that is more appropriate for the intended project,” he said.
Bishop Julito Cortes of Dumaguete welcomed the NHCP decision “with great joy and gratitude”.
“This is truly a wonderful Christmas gift to all of us,” Cortes said.
“May we continue to pursue the path of dialogue and unity, always open to the invitations of the Spirit of God and ready to reach out in solidarity and respect,” he added.
In late November, the city government broke ground on the “Dumaguete Tower” project or Masonic obelisk to be funded by a private donor who is a well known Freemason.
He has pledged P50 million for the project he hopes to finish before his assumption as a high-ranking official of the organization.