Preserving the Quezon property

WHILE there’s still time, both the National Historical Commission of the Philippines and the Quezon City government should move quickly if they’re really determined to preserve the ancestral house built in the 1920’s somewhere there at the upscale subdivision in New Manila which used to be the residence of late president Manuel Luis Quezon as part of the historical heritage.

They must do because they obviously don’t have control over the Quezon family led by the only surviving heir Zenaida “Nini” Quezon-Avanceña whenever they wish to dispose of the 3, 678 square meter lot located on Gilmore Avenue in Barangay Mariana, in spite of having it classified as an important cultural property.

More so, the Quezon heirs haven’t initiated any effort as to inform the city government about the supposed planned sale of the property and the latter has just confirmed that it has yet to receive official word from the family.

Though the local government has been after its preservation since 2008 or at the time of Mayor Bistek Bautista’s predecessor and now House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, the move was pepped up following reports that the Quezon heirs have been preoccupied in selling the property which could value at a conservative figure of P30,000 per square meter or an aggregate price of more than P100 million.

Inside the property include at least three residential structures and the most prominent is the two-storey colonial type house where the former president and his family stayed before the Pacific War.

Wasting no time, City Administrator Vic Endriga gives instructions to city planning and development office head Tomasito Cruz to coordinate with the NHCP by declaring its intention of registering it as an “important cultural treasure.”

Cruz, in an Aug. 8, 2011 letter to NHCP chair Maria Serena Diokno, wishes the latter to act on the matter as swiftly as possible by giving the city government options on how to acquire the property and eventually declare it as a heritage site in accordance with the National Cultural heritage Act of 2009 which states that no cultural property shall be sold without securing clearance from the cultural agency concerned.

“We need to preserve the structure. It is in that house where he also died, and that our locality was named after him, who is also the president of the Philippine Commonwealth and father of the Philippine National Language,” CA Endriga says. The Quezon heirs, it was learned, had already wan-ted to sell the property as early as October 2008.

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