Inside Page by Fernan A. Gianan:

Mayor Robles takes a big risk

“Gud am mayor! I heard from dpwh na dai na idemolish ung municipal bldg., balik na daw ung improvmnt n renovation. Kng matugot daw kmk, pd mag expand sa likod, babawasan ung multipurpose center. Ano tbi comment mo kaini?”

“gud am too engr. Actually ma huron huron pa lang tabi kami engr. sa aga wd d representative hare sa dpwh. Yan ang piga propose na bago para sa win win solution manungod sa issue.”

“Ok tnx.”

That was my exchange of text messages with Panganiban Mayor Cesar Robles regarding the proposed demolition of the 57-year old municipal building in conjunction with the DPWH project for the “Renovation/Improvement of Panganiban Municipal Hall” with a funding of P30 million.

Subsequently, the Tribune went ahead with the headline story on the DPWH scrapping its plan to demolish the building due to growing opposition on social media.

Apparently, a ranking official had been contacted by a prominent Payo resident who conveyed the critics’ sentiments on the issue. The official told this paper that opposition to the demolition would force the agency to backtrack from its decision.

Shortly after the Tribune issue went out, Mayor Robles put out an update on the Tribune story that stated that “(T)he Chief Executive informed that the new proposal is to retrofit the old building and build an addition at the back that would utilize part of the multipurpose building.”

He said he never stated and gave in to the quoted statement, during the June 14 meeting with DPWH representatives.

True, he never gave in to the statement during the meeting with DPWH officials.

But he indeed stated during the reply to my texted query that the DPWH had a new proposal for a “win-win” solution to the issue.

He reportedly told the DPWH officials that perhaps Vice Mayor Remelito Cabrera talked to this writer prior to the making of the headline story, something which never happened.

The vice mayor called this writer only in the afternoon of June 16, only to declare that while majority of the Sanggunian favors the demolition of the building, it wants the established procedure to be followed, including clearance from the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)/

The mayor’s decision to “take the risk and consequence for whatever may arise” on the demolition issue is another matter that now lies in the hands of Payonhons.


The Panganibanons’ problem with the municipal hall has similarities with the Virac public market building.

Built in 1970, there had been proposals during past administrations to demolish the entire 50-year old edifice and construct a new one in its place.

But the proposal never had traction with the public, much less with stall holders, until then Mayor Flerida Antonio-Alberto came along and pushed for the declaration of half of the building as “structurally unfit for occupancy,” with affected stall holders forced to construct temporary stalls at the nearby street.

The demolition never happened, perhaps largely due to public opposition as some suspected that it would lead to the sale or lease of the lot to LCC in a windfall for the proponents.

Instead, the building underwent retrofitting and renovation, with its ground floor now ready for occupancy.

Preserving a historic building does not come cheap.

And it pays to seek the advice of technical experts using what DPWH officials described as “non-destructive test” before razing down a piece of history which has become invaluable to the public.

For example, the Catanduanes provincial government has chosen to preserve the old capitol building in Sta. Elena and the Virac LGU did the same with its old municipal hall. Both are considered older than the Payo municipal building.


THE DIVORCE. A salesman was testifying in divorce proceedings against his wife.

His lawyer said: “Please described the incident that first caused you to suspect your wife’s infidelity.”

The husband began: “I’m on the road all week, so naturally when I’m home I’m very attentive to my wife. One Sunday morning we were in the middle of a really heavy session of lovemaking when the old lady in the apartment next door pounded on the wall and yelled: ‘Can’t you at least stop all that racket at weekends?”

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