Lawmakers seek probe on Manila Central Post Office fire

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 23 2023 11:32 PM | Updated as of May 24 2023 12:01 PM

MANILA (UPDATE) — Pangasinan 4th District Rep. Christopher de Venecia and 34 other members of the House Arts, Culture, and Creative Industries bloc will filew a resolution to investigate the fire that razed the Manila Central Post Office.

Calling the edifice a national cultural treasure and an important cultural property, De Venecia said it was crucial to investigate the cause of the fire and evaluate the effectiveness of safeguards to prevent similar incidents in the future. 

De Venecia, the House Committee on Creative Industry and Performing Arts chair, noted during the plenary session that during last year's budget deliberations, there was no sufficient funding to maintain the property.

"Thus, we can safely conclude that the agencies that are tasked to maintain the Manila Central Post Office, whether as a post office or as a cultural property, do not have the budget to restore the damage caused by the fire," De Venecia said.

"Perhaps, when we discuss the budget again later this year, we can explore increasing these agencies' allocations, specifically for restoration and maintenance of these very important cultural structures," he added. 

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Manila 6th District Rep. Bienvenido Abante told his colleagues in a speech during the plenary session that the incident should be a wake-up call and joined calls for an investigation.

He also urged the restoration of the landmark.

Speaking to ANC Wednesday, Abante also called on government to partner with the private sector to preserve the country's iconic landmarks.

"I made a proposal that a private foundation, duly registered with the SEC, in partnership with the government, be given the privilege and authority to administer and manage these iconic landmarks and national heritage," he told "Rundown".

Abante said he would volunteer in helping create the foundation "for the sole purpose of restoring, repairing, renovating, beautifying, preserving and maintaining all of the iconic landmarks and national heritage all over the country."

A cultural organization also suggested tapping the private sector to rehabilitate the Manila Central Post Office.

The fire that gutted the historic Manila Central Post Office in Lawton, Manila was put out by firefighters on Tuesday, some 30 hours after it started. 

Senior Insp. Alejandro Ramos, Bureau of Fire Protection-Manila chief of investigation and intelligence section, said the biggest challenge for firefighters was the heat trapped in the building's basement. 


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