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Baroque Churches of the Philippines

Philippines
Factors affecting the property in 2019*
  • Ground transport infrastructure
  • Housing
  • Ritual / spiritual / religious and associative uses
Factors* affecting the property identified in previous reports
  • Proposed plan for building an ossuary to replace the original 159 crypt burials (issue resolved)
  • Need for long-term solution to control the flow of heavy rain water (issue resolved)
International Assistance: requests for the property until 2019
Requests approved: 2 (from 1997-1998)
Total amount approved : 27,000 USD
Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2019

The World Heritage Centre has received information from civil society, including media reports, about a plan to construct the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge Project, which would pass over the Pasig River and connect Binondo with Intramuros (the buffer zone of the San Agustin Church of Intramuros Manila), a project which ICOMOS Philippines expressly opposed.

On 24 September 2018, the World Heritage Centre wrote to the State Party, attaching the position paper of ICOMOS Philippines as well as media reports, and requested further information. On 11 February 2019, the World Heritage Centre informed the State Party that the Committee would examine the state of conservation of the property.

On 14 and 27 December 2018, the State Party indicated that the bridge project is financed through an agreement between the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China. A state of conservation report was submitted on 28 February 2019 and is available at http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/677/documents/.

The State Party reports that the construction of a bridge has been temporarily stopped while the Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) is undertaking the Archaeological and Heritage Impact Assessment (AHIA) along with major design changes, in response to coordinated efforts by the National Commission for Culture and Arts (NCCA), the Intramuros Administration, and the National Museum with the DPWH. The AHIA will be provided once it is completed.

In parallel with the AHIA, the State Party is taking various steps to address the potential impact of the project, and notably:

  • Continuously ensuring that only light vehicles are allowed to pass through Intramuros,
  • Planning to pedestrianize the road adjacent to the church to mitigate the negative impact of additional traffic,
  • Considering protection of nearby heritage structures using a mechanically stabilized earth wall,
  • Not compromising the river and its promenade and equipping the bridge with walkways and bike lanes,
  • Integrating open spaces into the project design.

The Intramuros Administration has been formulating the Conservation Management Plan (CMP) of Intramuros, which would define measures to be undertaken to conserve Intramuros and to control different variables such as traffic and tourism.

Analysis and Conclusion by World Heritage Centre and the Advisory Bodies in 2019

It is encouraging that the State Party has been committed to protecting the attributes of the San Agustin Church of Intramuros, Manila, which contribute to the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property, through close coordination between the NCCA, the Intramuros Administration, other cultural agencies and the DPWH. However, it is regrettable that a decision to construct the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge was made and works commenced prior to the assessment of potential impacts of the project, not only on the OUV of the property but also on nearby heritage structures.

The temporary suspension of the construction of the bridge until the completion of the Archaeological and Heritage Impact Assessment (HIAs) is welcome and should be undertaken in accordance with the ICOMOS Guidance on HIAs for Cultural World Heritage Properties and be submitted to the World Heritage Centre for review by the Advisory Bodies. It is also acknowledged that major design changes are being made by the DPWH. Amended project details should be submitted to the World Heritage Centre as soon as they are available and before any decision is made that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines. The NCCA, the Intramuros Administration and other cultural agencies should continue close discussion with the DPWH to ensure that the AHIA is concluded as soon as possible, and that all potentially affected heritage structures and all possible impacts on the San Agustin Church of Intramuros are taken into consideration when making design changes. 

The development of the proposed Conservation Management Plan (CMP) for Intramuros is welcome and considered necessary to strengthen protection and development controls for the property and for Intramuros in general. While the efforts of the State Party to undertake various plans in order to address the impact of the project are encouraging, the completion of both CMP and the AHIA are now urgent in order to understand fully the impact of the project and to define and elaborate mitigation measures. The Committee should request the State Party to submit the draft CMP to the World Heritage Centre for review by Advisory Bodies, prior to its finalization and implementation.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to monitor not only the San Agustin Church of Intramuros Manila, but also other components of the property, and that it remind the State Party of its obligation to inform the World Heritage Centre of any new development project or major intervention that may have an impact on the OUV of the property before any decision is taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with the Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines.

Decisions adopted by the Committee in 2019
43 COM 7B.74
Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Philippines) (C 677bis)

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Acknowledges the State Party’s commitment to protecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and notes with satisfaction the temporary suspension of the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge until the Archaeological and Heritage Impact Assessment (AHIA) of the project is completed and any resulting major design changes to the bridge are made;
  3. Encourages the State Party to continue close coordination and discussion among the National Commission for Culture and Arts, the Intramuros Administration, other cultural agencies and the Department of Public Works and Highways to ensure that the AHIA is completed as soon as possible, and that all potentially affected heritage structures and all possible impacts on the San Agustin Church of Intramuros are taken into consideration as part of the design changes;
  4. Requests the State Party to submit the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies:
    1. The AHIA of the project, prepared in accordance with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties,
    2. Amended project details for the construction of the bridge,
    3. The draft Conservation Management Plan for Intramuros, prior to its finalization and implementation;
  5. Also encourages the State Party to regularly monitor all the component parts of the property, and also requests that it inform the World Heritage Centre of any new development project or major intervention that may have an impact on the OUV of the property before any decision is taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with the Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.
Draft Decision: 43 COM 7B.74

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/19/43.COM/7B.Add,
  2. Acknowledges the State Party’s commitment to protecting the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property and notes with satisfaction the temporary suspension of the construction of the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge until the Archaeological and Heritage Impact Assessment (AHIA) of the project is completed and any resulting major design changes to the bridge are made ;
  3. Encourages the State Party to continue close coordination and discussion among the National Commission for Culture and Arts, the Intramuros Administration, other cultural agencies and the Department of Public Works and Highways to ensure that the AHIA is completed as soon as possible, and that all potentially affected heritage structures and all possible impacts on the San Agustin Church of Intramuros are taken into consideration as part of the design changes;
  4. Requests the State Party to submit the World Heritage Centre, for review by the Advisory Bodies:
    1. The AHIA of the project, prepared in accordance with the ICOMOS Guidance on Heritage Impact Assessments for Cultural World Heritage Properties,
    2. Amended project details for the construction of the bridge,
    3. The draft Conservation Management Plan for Intramuros, prior to its finalization and implementation;
  5. Also encourages the State Party to regularly monitor all the component parts of the property, and also requests that it inform the World Heritage Centre of any new development project or major intervention that may have an impact on the OUV of the property before any decision is taken that would be difficult to reverse, in accordance with the Paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines;
  6. Finally requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2020, an updated report on the state of conservation of the property and the implementation of the above, for examination by the World Heritage Committee at its 45th session in 2021.
Report year: 2019
Philippines
Date of Inscription: 1993
Category: Cultural
Criteria: (ii)(iv)
Documents examined by the Committee
SOC Report by the State Party
Report (2019) .pdf
arrow_circle_right 43COM (2019)
Exports

* : The threats indicated are listed in alphabetical order; their order does not constitute a classification according to the importance of their impact on the property.
Furthermore, they are presented irrespective of the type of threat faced by the property, i.e. with specific and proven imminent danger (“ascertained danger”) or with threats which could have deleterious effects on the property’s Outstanding Universal Value (“potential danger”).

** : All mission reports are not always available electronically.


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