NHCP calls for dialogue on San Pablo Cathedral patio renovation project

By Saul E. Pa-a

SAN PABLO CITY, Laguna, (PNA) — The National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) has figuratively doused cold water and proposed a temporary “moratorium” to dampen the brewing controversy of renovation works on the patio of the historical San Pablo Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit in this city.

It was learned that certain violations on the renovation and development plan for the church patio of the historical Cathedral went beyond the approved scope of work and have caught the ire of the NHCP officials lately.

NHCP only approved the submitted plan in March this year for the church patio and not the demolition of the church canopy and removal of the antique steel fence.

This prompted NHCP Chairman Dr. Maria Serena Diokno to write and invite the concerned parties to a dialogue to clarify and resolve the issues.

In her invitation letter, Dr. Diokno offered the dialogue to take place either on the afternoon of September 17 or 18 or in the morning of September 19 or 20 at the NHCP office on T.M. Kalaw Street in Manila.

The concerned parties included Arvin Carandang, San Pablo City community organizer; Rev. Father Dr. Jerry E. Gaela, the Cathedral’s rector-parish priest; Jacinto B. Gatchalian, past vice president of the Parish Pastoral Council; Atty. Sharon Haw-Santonia on her legal opinions and Architect Rene Luis S. Mata, conservation consultant of the Cathedral Parish of Saint Paul the First Hermit.

Dr. Diokno also appealed that “pending the dialogue, all the development work be stopped to create an environment of trust and good faith.”

The concerned parties are also requested to contact Architect Wilkie B. Delumen, NHCP’s Chief of the Historic Preservation Division to confirm their participation through telephone no. 254-74-82 loc. 134 and 135 in the meeting at the NHCP office.