Naga ACTO opposes building demolition
due to cultural importance
By Paolo Gabriel Jamer
The Arts, Culture and Tourism Office (ACTO) of Naga City expressed its opposition to the planned demolition of the former Filipinas Life Assurance Company building located along Maharlika Highway in Concepcion Grande, which was designed and built by Leandro V. Locsin, the country’s National Artist for Architecture.
The building, owned by the Home Mutual Development Fund or PAG-Ibig Fund, will be demolished to give way for the construction of a new and modern six-storey building that will house PAG-Ibig’s Naga City branch office.
Alec Santos, ACTO chief, said that the building “is listed as an important cultural property by the National Commission for the Culture and the Arts (NCCA) under the Philippine Registry of Cultural Property (PRECUP).”
He said that Republic Act 10066 or the National Cultural Heritage Act provides that works of national artists cannot be demolished, altered or subjected to any procedure without proper clearance from the NCCA.
He added that there are also other cultural properties that were preserve in Naga City and adaptive reuse was implemented like in the Abella Building in the city proper, which now housed a bank, drug store and fast food chain.
The protection of cultural properties adds historical appeal and value to the city, which is considered to be one the oldest cities in the Philippines. More so, that building is part of our history as Nagueños, Santos said.
Locsin, who was named National Artist for Architecture in 1990 by President Corazon Aquino, was known for his use of concrete, floating volume and simplistic design. Among his famous works are the building designs of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), Philippine International Convention Center (PICC), Ayala Museum, and others. His biggest single work was the Istana Nurul Iman, the largest residential palace in the world and the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei.
The planned demolition in 2019 of a similar building in Iloilo City, also owned by Filipinas Life Assurance Co. and designed and built by Locsin, did not materialize because of opposition from the Iloilo City Cultural Heritage Conservation Council. This preserved building now houses the Leni-Kiko campaign headquarters, a Bicolano who is a resident of Iloilo City told Bicol Mail.
As this developed, officials of PAG-Ibig Fund Naga declined to issue a statement with regard to the planned demolition of the building and give details on the construction of the new building.