MANILA, PHILIPPINES — Approximately 77 years have passed since it was repaired following the destruction caused by the Battle of Manila in World War II; the historic Manila Central Post Office was engulfed in flames before Sunday midnight, which lasted up to nearly eight hours until it was brought under control.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Nation Capital Region director Chief Supt. Nahum Tarroza stated in an interview on Monday, “It was totally burned. It’s saddening because this is a national historical landmark.”
House Deputy Speaker and Batangas 6th District Rep. Ralph Recto called for the reconstruction of the historical landmark.
“Government should rebuild the National Post Office Building. Fast, and not in slow mail fashion,” Recto stated on Monday, May 22.
Recto explained the history of the building when it was firebombed by the United States and Japanese forces and reduced to rubble in the Battle of Manila. Even when the country was short on cash, the Philippine Republic decided to rebuild the building.
“Because they believed then, as we must do now, that to let it physically disappear is to purge it from our people’s memory,” Recto said.
Lawmakers called for restoration with possible sources of funding for the project with the Manila City government in coordination with the Philippine Postal Corp. (PPC).
Since the fire destroyed the basement up to the fifth floor, PPC Postmaster Luis Carlos has moved the sorting and distribution center to Delpan, which is also in Manila.
The BFP has estimated the initial cost of reconstruction, nearing P300 million. An investigation is also underway to determine the cause of the fire that started in the basement.
The 97-year-old historical building was designed by Ralph Doane, Tomas Mapua, and Juan Marcos de Guzman Arellano in 1926.
The building was declared an “important cultural property” by the National Museum on November 24, 2018.
Recto has mentioned possible sources of funding, including the P13-billion contingent fund under President Marcos’ control and the P13-billion calamity fund, which is under the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council. – WhatALife!/Zain