‘Misleading’ articles on Torre | Inquirer Opinion

‘Misleading’ articles on Torre

12:40 AM September 09, 2015

Edgar Allan Sembrano’s articles “Unesco advisory body urges ‘removal’ of Torre de Manila” and “Skyscrapers marring sightline of Istanbul’s Hagia Sophia demolished” (Lifestyle, 8/31/15) are both misleading.

The text of the November 2014 resolution of the Icomos General Assembly did not urge the removal of Torre de Manila; it only “[e]ncourage[d] all national authorities of the Philippines to work in cooperation with Icomos Philippines to develop and implement conservation measures for the protection of the Rizal Monument and its setting.” The rest of the resolution, which was originally drafted by Icomos Philippines, did not mention the removal of the building. It was the past president of Icomos Philippines, Augusto Villalon, who pushed for the adoption of the Icomos resolution, and who was quoted in the article as concluding that Torre de Manila must be removed.

Although Turkish authorities were widely reported in August 2014 to have ordered the demolition of new skyscrapers in the Zeytinburnu neighborhood because these marred the view of historic buildings like the Hagia Sofia, no actual demolitions were carried out (the municipality of Zeytinburnu has not demolished the 16/9 skyscrapers as of November 2014 due to lack of interested bidders to demolish the buildings).

A list of seven demolished buildings in Istanbul shows that the last building demolished was in 1996.


—ROBERTO N. DIO, Castillo Laman Tan Pantaleon & San Jose, 3/F, The Valero Tower, 122 Valero St., Salcedo Village, Makati City


The Icomos General Assembly resolution adopted the position paper submitted to the Florence meeting of the Icomos Philippine National Committee which, as architect Augusto Villalon of the latter said, was for the “removal” of the Torre de Manila. “Removal” is among the measures covered in the general assembly resolution urging Philippine Icomos and government “to develop and implement conservation measures for the protection of the Rizal Monument and its setting” (emphasis mine). As for the Turkish case, as you have personally confirmed, the skyscrapers marring the skyline of the Hagia Sophia and other heritage sites were “ordered” removed. The order remains despite implementation bottlenecks.—ED., Arts and Books subsection, Lifestyle

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TAGS: demolition, Rizal Monument, Torre de Manila, Turkey

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