Home » Provincia de Iloílo » Alimodian » The town plaza of Alimodian, Iloílo is in grave danger

The town plaza of Alimodian, Iloílo is in grave danger

Last week, I was explaining to my son Mómay the importance of the Spanish language to us Filipinos by using this latest irritating news from Alimodian, Iloílo…

Alimodian mayor tells NHCP town plaza not a historical site

Published 

By Tara Yap

Iloílo City— Mayor Geefre Alonsabe of Alimodian town challenged members of the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) to reconsider their decision questioning the municipal government’s decision to build a multi-purpose project in the town plaza because the site is a heritage property.

The plaza of Alimodian town in Iloilo province is the controversial site for the construction of a multi-purpose hall.  The plaza has been declared as an Important Cultural Property. (Tara Yap/ MANILA BULLETIN)

The plaza of Alimodian town in Iloílo province is the controversial site for the construction of a multi-purpose hall. The plaza has been declared as an Important Cultural Property. (Tara Yap/ MANILA BULLETIN)

“I challenge them. They should come and check,” Alonsabe said.

The NHCP earlier advised the municipal government of Alimodian to find a different site for the multi-purpose building and not build it inside the town’s plaza, which has been declared as an Important Cultural Property (ICP). The commission’s decision came after a group wrote to NHCP chairman René Escalante that the project site is within the town plaza, which they consider to be part of their heritage.

Due to the complaint, the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH)-Iloilo 4th District Engineering Office) temporarily halted the project to coordinate with NHCP and other agencies.

Despite being told to find another local, Alonsabe is firm that majority of Alimodian residents want the multi-purpose hall to be constructed within the plaza. He also reiterated the General Welfare clause of the Local Government Code. “We need a covered court for our activities. This will benefit our people,” Alonsabe said.

Alimodian official are not fully aware of how the plaza is an ICP. “On behalf of the LGU, we do not have papers declaring the plaza as heritage property,” Alonsabe said.

Alonsabe added that the marker of the then National Historical Institute (NHI) does not indicate the ICP status. Alonsabe also reiterated that the current plaza is not 50 years old.

Mayor Alonsabe wants to construct a multi-purpose hall right within the town plaza. If he does that, the town plaza will be transformed beyond recognition. There might not even be a town plaza anymore. Thankfully, the NHCP is blocking the project because the plaza is a heritage property. But the mayor insists that it isn’t, even saying that the plaza is not yet 50 years old!

To students of history, it is common knowledge that all Spanish-era towns (then called poblaciones) include plazas. Whenever a parish church was built during that era, it was almost unthinkable not to construct a plaza right in front of it.

We then consulted an old book, the “Diccionario Geográfico, Estadístico, Histórico de las Islas Filipinas” (Volume 1), published in 1850 by Fr. Manuel Buzeta and Fr. Felipe Bravo, to check if Alimodian is a Spanish-era town. On pages 287 to 288, we found what we’re looking for…

Alimodian was founded in 1784 with only 1,602 houses. Its church, dedicated to Santo Tomás de Villanueva, was under the diocese of Cebú. Aside from the church, the town already had a convent, a public cemetery, a court (of justice), and even a jailhouse. In short, it was already a completely functioning town.

Could you just imagine a completely functioning town during those days without a plaza?

It’s pure tomfoolery on the part of Mayor Alonsabe to say that the plaza is not even 50 years old in order to justify his dimwitted plan of setting up his multi-purpose grotesquerie within a heritage site. But then again, he might make another excuse saying that he doesn’t know Spanish, that’s why he’s ignorant of his own town’s history.

What a shame. Because of the Spanish language, my 14-year-old son and I now know more about Alimodian’s history compared to its own mayor. And since we now know its historical background, we have come to appreciate it as well. And to think that we haven’t even been to that beautiful historic town of his that he wishes to desecrate in the name of… what?… contracts?

Sin vergüenza.

5 thoughts on “The town plaza of Alimodian, Iloílo is in grave danger

  1. Thanks again, Sir Pepe Alas!

    A few more details:
    Before receipt of the letter from NHCP, during a hearing in town on 1 August 2018, the DPWH engineer said that he did not question the location because Mayor Alonsabe and Congressman Gorriceta have an arrangement to build the MPB IN the plaza. Video clip of his statement is here: https://youtu.be/4ei3ylC8wXc.
    Subsequently, the municipal building engineer issued a building permit while the location is in question.
    Both of the above are in VIOLATION of memorandum Circular No. 2 Series of 2018 (https://drive.google.com/open?id=1QWpfVliLRExyEB_h-axDRd_h3aVb_req) from Secretary Mark Villar,

    The building is imposing and will dominate the landscape: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1qAjbJ0SEhwmG-QAONjrqjXUR7PJqk2g5

    It will get too close to the Rizal monument. Site development plan here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1nbu6oNBoETL-AlUv4rQ5SSIhGfO4a9FU

    The Rizal monument would become insignificant next to it Think Rizal bust next to Seafood City:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1YtfvoqH8FZWhByMTuvwXijvCaq0XmBRY

    Site plan sketched / superimposed on satellite view: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JS0VW2r6dRYyb2dimnoDeHhFcAWWJNPi

    Aerial approximation of how it would look like from the east is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=1JhznNCktqI9a345KQPRWdUtXJnU5HHYR

    Aerial approximation of how it would look like from the west is here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=191JOcV1nC-DBFoAX_8FG5OgCVqtT10FI

    Ground-level approximation of how the MPB in plaza would destroy the visual corridor to the church and Rizal monument:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1UsignKvhp0jO4HFaPmFqM1bgCKqKCeUn
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1kkXvF_77KEXoCdzTJcIvurrcSw0ZVtvu

    Vehicles already parked inside the plaza. Event at MPB will make it worse:
    https://drive.google.com/open?id=1vqVgrgkRyLgWXPuVERlkvguVxPxeI605

    Mayor Alonsabe is appealing the NHCP decision, claiming that:
    1)The plaza is not a historical site (news article in original post),
    2)There is no other place to build the MPB, although we suggested some alternative locations,
    3)Ninety-eight percent of the townspeople are in favor of building the MPB IN the plaza, based on signatures only of people in favor of it, and
    4)Spokesperson Harry Roque, presidential adviser Tolentino, and Congressman Gorriceta told him to build the MPB in the plaza

    We are afraid that above politicians will confirm that they indeed told Mayor Alonsabe to build IN the plaza and sway the NHCP decision. IF that happens and the MPB were built in the plaza, that would set a bad precedent that will leave other plaza’s/parks in the Philippines open game to everybody wanting to leave his mark.

    Like

  2. Pingback: NHCP asserts its authority against Alimodian Mayor | EL FILIPINISMO

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