“Whoever conquers a free town and does not demolish it commits a great error and may expect to be ruined himself.”
By Alex P. Vidal
NEWARK, New Jersey -- Is it lawful to demolish the condemned Iloilo Freedom Grandstand?
What if there is an existing ordinance that “protects” it from destruction?
Can a superior law or executive fiat supersede an existing regulation ordinance?
Under Section 5 of the Implementing Rules and Regulations for the Iloilo City Downtown Central Business District (CBD) Heritage Zone, the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand is listed as among the nine plazas/monuments.
The eight others are: Plaza Libertad, Maria Clara, Plazoleta Gay, Molo, Arevalo, Jaro, La Paz, and Mandurriao.
Chapter II Section 8 on the General Prohibitions and Standards, states that demolition, repair, renovation, restoration, construction of any building or structure or without prior consultation, clearance, and approval of Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council (ICCHCC) “shall not in any circumstances, be allowed within the Downtown Heritage Zone.”
The Implementing Rules and Regulations Section 5 also identified J.M. Basa St. and Iznart St. as the heritage zone’s “major streets” and Aldeguer St., Arsenal St., Guanco St., Plaza Libertad, Rizal St., Arroyo St., and Mapa St. as “minor streets.”
The Iloilo Freedom Grandstand currently stands on J.M. Basa Street.
The implementing rules and regulations is contained in Regulation Ordinance No. 00-054, as amended, otherwise known as the “Local Cultural Heritage Conservation Ordinance of Iloilo City” passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod “in order to conserve cultural heritage and legacy buildings in the City of Iloilo through the creation of the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council.”
On October 21, 2009, then Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Trenas signed the Executive Order no. 46 series of 2009 “directing the implementation of Regulation Ordinance No. 00-054, as amended, and its implementing rules and regulations.”
Everything, including the Iloilo Freedom Grandstand, which is part of our tangible past, remains to be an asset until we prove it otherwise.