1.         Baroque Churches of the Philippines (Philippines) (C 677bis)

Year of inscription on the World Heritage List  1993

Criteria  (ii)(iv)

Year(s) of inscription on the List of World Heritage in Danger  N/A

Previous Committee Decisions  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/677/documents/

International Assistance

Requests approved: 0 (from 1997-1998)
Total amount approved: USD 27,000
For details, see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/677/assistance/

UNESCO Extra-budgetary Funds

N/A

Previous monitoring missions

July 1998: ICOMOS expert mission; July 2000: ICOMOS Reactive Monitoring mission 

Factors affecting the property identified in previous reports

Illustrative material  see page https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/677/

Conservation issues presented to the World Heritage Committee in 2021

On 1 December 2020, the State Party submitted a state of conservation report along with an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA), a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and amended project details on the proposed plan to construct the Binondo-Intramuros Bridge (BIB), in addition to the Intramuros Conservation Management Plan (CMP). The report is available at https://whc.unesco.org/en/list/677/documents/ and provides the following updates:

In March 2021, an ICOMOS Technical Review on the AIA, HIA and CMP was shared with the State Party.

Analysis and Conclusions of the World Heritage Centre, ICOMOS and ICCROM

It is welcome that the State Party commissioned relevant studies, including the AIA, HIA and CMP to evaluate the potential impact of the BIB project on the OUV of the property.

According to the HIA, as the project site is located remotely from the San Agustin Church, immediate and direct impacts on the property are not anticipated. Nevertheless, significant potential indirect and long-term impacts have been identified as resulting from the two phases of the project: the construction of the bridge and its eventual visual presence and operation. These impacts and some issues arising from the AIA, HIA and CMP have been identified through the ICOMOS Technical Review.

During the period of construction, vibration, dust and noise pollution from the construction work and regular movement of heavy equipment are expected to increase. When the bridge becomes fully operational, increased vehicular activity in Intramuros and its surrounding area would generate additional ground vibration, air and noise pollution, and traffic congestion. These factors could have serious implications on the structural stability, weaken the plaster and compromise the adobe that forms the core material of the church.

Although the BIB would be more than 500 metres away from San Agustin Church, it would have a direct visual impact on the overall setting and sense of place of the property, including the colonial city’s fortified wall, as well as the Maestranza strip and the Plaza México, the visual corridor of the Pasig river and the underlying remains of the Baluarte de Santo Domingo, which will be directly and physically impacted by the Intramuros portion of the bridge. In light of the HIA’s conclusions regarding the negative impacts on attributes of OUV including vistas, viewsheds and the setting of the property, which could only be partially mitigated by implementing costly mitigation measures, it is recommended that the Committee request the State Party to reconsider the design of the bridge, its location and the possibility of a ‘no-project option’, and notably consider converting the surrounding streets and roads of the San Agustin Church into pedestrian areas, conducting structural assessment of the Church and adapting the design of the bridge approach to the character of Intramuros. The HIA should be revised and updated accordingly, the AIA should be revised and expanded in accordance with the findings of the ICOMOS Technical Review and the CMP should also be revised in order to facilitate the long-term management and conservation of all the attributes that convey the significance of the property. The Committee may also request the State Party to provide further information regarding the proposed reconstruction of the Baluarte de Santo Domingo that is mentioned in both the HIA and AIA.

Finally, it is recommended that the Committee encourage the State Party to provide accurate information to the public on the project and communicate with stakeholders, including heritage experts and local communities, to develop a robust management structure and ensure the conservation of the property.

Decision Adopted: 44 COM 7B.149

The World Heritage Committee,

  1. Having examined Document WHC/21/44.COM/7B,
  2. Recalling Decision 43 COM 7B.74 adopted at its 43rd session (Baku, 2019),
  3. Welcomes the substantial efforts made by the State Party to develop relevant documents, including an Archaeological Impact Assessment (AIA), a Heritage Impact Assessment (HIA) and the Intramuros Conservation Management Plan (CMP), to evaluate the potential impacts of the proposed Binondo-Intramuros Bridge (BIB) project on the Outstanding Universal Value (OUV) of the property;
  4. Notes with concern that the BIB project could have indirect and long-term impacts on the OUV of the property, and requests the State Party to:
    1. Reconsider the design of the BIB, its location and the possibility of a ‘no-project option’, having regard to the ICOMOS Technical Review and the recommendations and mitigation measures of the AIA and HIA, such as converting the surrounding streets and roads of the San Agustin Church into pedestrian areas, conducting structural assessment of the Church and adapting the design of the bridge approach to the character of Intramuros,
    2. Revise and update the HIA for the BIB project,
    3. Expand the AIA for the BIB project in accordance with the findings of the ICOMOS technical review,
    4. Revise the CMP to facilitate long-term management and conservation of all the attributes that convey the significance of the property,
    5. Provide further information regarding the proposed reconstruction of the Baluarte de Santo Domingo,
    6. Submit revised documentation for the BIB project, including updated AIA, HIA and CMP to the World Heritage Centre for further review by ICOMOS before any decision is made that would be difficult to reverse or any substantial progress made with project implementation;
  5. Encourages the State Party to provide information to the public regarding the project and communicate with stakeholders, including heritage experts and local communities, to develop a robust management structure that ensures the conservation of the property;
  6. Also requests the State Party to submit to the World Heritage Centre, by 1 December 2022, 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 46th session.