Telco giant PLDT seeks to remove ‘Important Cultural Property’ status of Ramon Cojuangco Building in Makati City

Image: National Commission for Culture and the Arts
Image: National Commission for Culture and the Arts

Telecommunications giant PLDT has filed a petition with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) to remove the Ramon Cojuangco Building (RCB) in Makati City as an Important Cultural Property, the arts commission announced on social media.

The NCCA posted a link to the full petition on Facebook.

The Ramon Cojuangco Building, located along Makati Avenue, was designed by National Artist for Architecture Leandro V. Locsin in 1974. The 15-storey building also houses PLDT’s headquarters.

By law, works by a National Artist are considered Important Cultural Property, protecting them against modification or demolition according to Republic Act 10066.

In their petition, PLDT argued that the property did not bear any “exceptional cultural, artistic, and historical significance. Thus it cannot be regarded as an ICP.”

The company said that the RCB was not representative of Locsin’s style and called the building “generic, nondescript, and purged of any references to local culture, tradition, climate, or identity of the place.”

PLDT also said that it planned to “redevelop and transform [the structure] into a modern, ecologically sustainable, and open campus-type headquarters.” 

Delisting architecturally significant buildings in Manila is not new. One notable example is the mid-century Philamlife Theater, acquired by the SM Development Corporation in 2012 and demolished for a mixed-use development that reportedly includes an 800-seater theater with “better insulation, computerized sound system and improved acoustics.” The original Philamlife Theater had its acoustics designed by Bolt Beranek & Newman, the same group behind the Sydney Opera House.

The NCCA has said that the public may write their letter of support or opposition through email until June 7. 

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