Manila city engineers inspect fire-hit Central Post Office

City engineers on Wednesday combed through what’s left of the historic Manila Central Post Office that was gutted by fire early this week.

According to Mariz Umali’s report on “24 Oras,” the building teemed of charred poles and beams, bent irons, crushed concrete, and materials that are now ashes.

“Ang iche-check mo structural integrity ng building, kung kaya pa niyang i-withstand na gagamitin mo kasi kung delikado na sa tirahan ng tao ‘yun. Inaano naman ng condemnation kinokondemn namin ang building. Most likely kasi matagal na yung building and nababad pa sa apoy sa sunog so talagang magwiweaken yung mga columns niya, mga biga,” Manila’s building official and city engineer Armando Andres said.

“Siyempre gusto nating isalba yung building, historical yan e kaya lang kung mako-compromise naman yung safety ng mga empleyado ng post office ‘yung mga pumupunta roon,” he added.

It is stated in the National Cultural Heritage Act of 2009 that buildings under fifty years old and above can be considered historical and deserve to be preserved. Thus, the Manila Engineering Office said the Central Post office could not just be easily condemned despite the damage.

“Closely coordinating naman kami sa historical commission. Kung talagang not fit for occupancy and then pag nacondemn namin meron naman silang option na iappeal sa public works pwede pa rin sila mag-appeal sa Malacanang ‘yun ang last resort nila,” Andres added.

Meanwhile, the Philippine Postal Corporation (PPC) has already said that the building will be restored.

“We’re assuring that it’s gonna be restored to the same structure and the same facade and the same set up as whatever, you know during those days. Easily three to five years to restore this,” PPC Postmaster General and CEO Luis Carlos said.

The funds eyed for the rebuilding would come from the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS).

Based on the initial discussion, P400 million will be allocated for the structure, while P200 million will be provided for the damaged furniture and other equipment.

Earlier Wednesday, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts chairperson Victorino Manalo also visited the Manila Central Post Office.

He said an inter-agency commission in collaboration with the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, National Archives, National Museum, and PPC will b formed to discuss measures to help rebuild the post office.–Sherylin Untalan/LDF, GMA Integrated News

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