MANILA Mayor Honey Lacuna dispelled malicious insinuations being floated on social media that the fire that gutted the Manila Central Post Office happened because of plans to construct a shopping mall or condominium building on the said site.
Lacuna explained that the post office, a national government property, is located in an institutional zone, which means it is in an area primarily intended for institutional purposes like offices, schools, public govt buildings and religious buildings, among others.
“Under the city’s zoning ordinance (Ordinance 8119), said site is designated as a heritage overlay zone. More than that, the National Historical Institute and the National Museum have already put up a marker (plaque) on the post office, making it an officially protected site,” the mayor stressed.
“Sa mga nagaagam-agam na baka sakali ay may ibang gustong ipatayo, ‘wag kayong mag-alala. Ang lugar po kung saan nakatayo ang Manila Central Post Office ayon po sa aming zoning ordinance ay isang institutional zone pero liban pa po doon, ito ay idineklara noong 2018 ng national museum bilang important cultural property na ibig sabihn lamang po, ang NHI ay dineklara ang buong lugar bilang isang heritage zone,” she pointed out.
She added: Kapag ganito, di na maaring patayuan ng kahit anumang gusali maliban sa post office, dun sa lugar na ito. Ibig sabihin, protektado ng zoning ordinance na kahit pamahalaang-lungsod o national government ay di maaring magpatayo ng anumang infrastructure maliban sa post office. It is protected and you cannot demolish or build anything else on it.”
Lacuna assured that the local government will try to help the national government —because the MCPO is a national government property— in the restoration and rehabilitation of the said national treasure at the soonest time possible.
Meanwhile, the mayor said she was told that those holding office in the burnt building will temporarily occupy their foreign mail distribution center in Delpan.
The mayor expressed hope that the MCPO will be able to discharge all its functions and resume normal operations in the coming days.
A report to the mayor said the eight-hour long fire rendered the MCPO building totally damaged and was said to have began at the general services office located in the basement. Estimated damage to property was placed at a staggering P300 million.