The Manila Cathedral, otherwise known as the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, has expressed its support for the online campaign to save the century-old San Sebastian Church in Manila.
In a Facebook post, the cathedral urged its followers to sign the petition to terminate the construction of a 31-story condominium behind the San Sebastian Basilica. The project, which was approved back in 2019, will reportedly obstruct the view of the basilica— affecting its cultural and structural integrity that has been preserved since the 1880s. (Read: The 10 Oldest Churches In The Philippines)
“We collaborated with them (San Sebastian Basilica) to make this a larger call for action,” the Manila Cathedral wrote. “To save this Basilica, we need your support for the ongoing restoration and the newer movement opposing the condominium building scheduled for construction behind it.”
Save San Sebastian Basilica
The calls to save the historic San Sebastian Basilica started in October 2020, when the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc. revealed that the application to construct a high-rise condominium building behind the basilica has been cleared by local authorities.
“Our main goal now is to get urgent clarifications from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA), the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP), and the National Museum of the Philippines (NM) based on a clearance they issued the condominium developer on 16 July 2019,” the organization wrote in a Facebook post.
“These national agencies need to explain how they assessed the possible effects of the building’s design and construction activities on the architectural and structural integrity of San Sebastian Basilica and the surrounding houses,” they added. (Read: (Read: Visita Basilica: Seven Minor Basilicas in the Philippines)
Individual letters have since been sent to concerned authorities to request the termination of the construction project. Their request is based on the premise that the project will not just put the basilica’s integrity at risk, but will also adversely affect the lives of residents in the area.
On January 7, the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc., officially launched the online petition to stop the erection of the condominium right behind the San Sebastian Basilica. Their primary goal is to raise 400,000 signatures by August 2021.
This is “to show the public there is a community of people who care about the basilica and the neighborhood,” the foundation said. (Read: Typhoon Rolly Wrecks Albay Churches, Bishop Asks For Help)
As of Thursday, January 14, the petition has already raised more than 16,100 signatures. Help raise this number by signing up today at change.org!