The Philippine Postal Corporation (PHLPost) has taken initial steps towards restoring the fire-hit Manila Central Post Office (MCPO) building.
“We welcomed the move of Secretary Christina Frasco of the Department of Tourism (DOT) to aid in the funding of the Detailed Architectural and Engineering Study (DAES) through the Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA)”, Postmaster General Luis Carlos said.
The Department of Tourism is now looking at developing the iconic building as part of a cultural circuit in the City of Manila.
Built in 1926, the Manila Central Post Office was declared an Important Cultural Property by the National Museum of the Philippines in 2018. Likewise, cultural properties with exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance to the country, are eligible to receive government funding for its protection, conservation, and restoration.
The building is a neoclassical architecture designed by Filipino’s Juan Arellano and Tomas Mapua.
The Inter Agency Task Force for Cultural Heritage (IATF-CH) is composed of cultural authorities including the DOT, PHLPost and the City of Manila, worked together in the formulation of Detailed Architectural and Engineering Study (DAES) which is now with TIEZA for the procurement process.
“As you can see, this is an integrated, multi-sectoral and collaborative process whereby different agencies come together to address complex challenges in order for us to immediately restore the historic edifice,” PMG Carlos added.
While PHLPost is waiting for the implementation of DAES, a conservation architect has been tapped to identify the items or materials left by a fire that has historical value and facilitate its tagging, cataloging, and retrieval to serve as a reference in the actual restoration of the MCPO building.
PHLPost is also working on the shoring of the building. This is a process to temporarily support the structure, vessel, or trench with shores (a timber or metal props) to avoid danger of collapsing during repairs or alterations.
“After the fire, the rain waters are trapped in the third floor. PHLPost undertook declogging of the gutters and now rain waters are running off the building,” he said.
PHLPost has received different proposals as to the use of the building. “For as long as the IATF-CH has no reservation on the use of the building, PHLPost is open for any collaborations on the building,” PMG Carlos added.
Immediately after the fire, PHLPost created the Disaster Recovery and Rehabilitation Committee tasked to coordinate and oversee activities related to disaster recovery and rehabilitation efforts, restore normalcy in all affected offices as efficiently as possible and create an internal Special Working Group to ensure planning, coordination, resource management, communication and continuous improvement in order to bring back its old glory.
“The restoration of the Manila Post Office Building is a task that requires patience and understanding. We see to it that our efforts towards restoring every piece of its heritage shall not be in vain so that future generations will have the opportunity to learn and appreciate this important cultural and historic architecture,” Postmaster General Luis Carlos said.