I was to give this matter a rest for a while, but then this recent news item was enough for me not only to revisit the issue but also perhaps reconsider my earlier views on the matter.
Apparently, the developer, Oceanville Properties, tampered with the main building itself and not just the ancillary buildings that it earlier promised to only do and without the presentation of the final plans the developer promised to present. Thus, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines issued a cease and desist order against further works to be done in the building, pending the presentation of the final plans as was first promised.
The fact all these things have been happening right under the nose of not only the NHCP but also of the general public causes one to doubt the “good intentions” of “redeveloping” the Army and Navy Club Building that the developer was promising. Was the developer intent on not making that promise in the first place? Even if it does, does it intend on following the prescribed in redeveloping this landmark or was it planning to go its own way, ignoring the rules and make something that would make sense to them and not for heritage’s sake?
At this point, it would be easy to also lay the blame on the NHCP for failing to notice this soon. While there is some merit for such criticisms, one must also understand that the NHCP right now does not have enough resources and personnel to keep track of what is going on with the heritage sites scattered all across the country. Such scenario underscores the importance of the presence of heritage advocates and other concerned individuals and groups to help keep an eye of these developments at the very least. We are fortunate that such developments can be made known faster thanks to social media which has also raised awareness on the importance of heritage.
Ultimately, we should continue to be vigilant on the developments at the Army and Navy Club and other heritage landmarks, especially the endangered ones, as we strive to preserve and protect the remnants of our past.
We can only hope that our efforts would not end up in vain.