Rizal shrine case elevated to int’l body

News Release
10 November 2014

Sen. Pia elevates Rizal Monument desecration case to international body

Senator Pia S. Cayetano has elevated the issue of the desecration of the Rizal Monument before an international body tasked to identify and protect heritage sites around the world.

The senator is attending the 18th general assembly of the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) being held this week in Florence, Italy, together with ICOMOS Philippines president Architect Augusto Villalon to raise the issue of the ‘photo bombing’ of the sightline of the 101-year-old Rizal shrine by Torre de Manila, a 49-story commercial building being constructed across Rizal Park behind the historic monument.

Cayetano has been working with ICOMOS Philippines to protect the Rizal Monument. This led to the filing of a resolution against Torre de Manila which will be heard at the ICOMOS assembly.

“We hope to gather international support for our campaign to stop the Torre de Manila project and its developer, DM Consunji, Inc. (DMCI), from desecrating the sightline and integrity of the Rizal Monument,” said Cayetano, the chairperson of the Senate Committee on Education, Arts and Culture.

An advisory body to the United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO) World Heritage Committee, ICOMOS is composed of 9,500 heritage conservation experts from 100 national committees throughout the world. Part of the agency’s mandate is to nominate cultural and historical sites for inclusion in the World Heritage List. ICOMOS also provides expertise and support for threatened heritage sites brought to its attention.

“After my initial visits to UNESCO and the ICOMOS headquarters in Paris, I learned how around the world, governments, NGOs, businesses and communities have united to protect their heritage sites. And there are many examples of structures and buildings found to be obstructing these sites that were struck down.”

“As we continue to fight for the Rizal Monument using different avenues within our country, we will leave no stone unturned and exert parallel efforts outside the country to ensure that our national monument is respected and safeguarded,” she stressed.

“The shrine built in honor of our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal, symbolizes not only the Filipinos’ historic struggle for independence from colonial rule at the turn of the century, but also the universal ideals of education, democracy, freedom, equality and nationalism that Rizal fought for.”

“I am also looking forward to the lectures that will showcase best practices in heritage preservation based on the experiences of other countries. In fact, I am excited about the presentation by our very own ICOMOS Philippines president who will present the case of Vigan as the best showcase of heritage site management practice in our country,” she concluded. #

Sen. Cayetano: “We hope to gather international support for our campaign to stop the Torre de Manila project and its developer, DM Consunji, Inc. (DMCI), from desecrating the sightline and integrity of the Rizal Monument.”

At the 18th general assembly of ICOMOS in Florence, Italy: Senator Pia S. Cayetano (center) together with (left to right) ICOMOS Philippines president Architect Augusto Villalon, Ms. Darla Villalon, former ambassador to Italy Virgilio Reyes and Claire Vitug, a masteral student of conservation and art restoration at the University of the Philippines.

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