SARRAT, Ilocos Norte (UPDATE) - The municipal government here has declared the 13 Stations of the Cross surrounding the historic Santa Monica Parish, as local cultural and historical treasures.
The resolution, dated last Sept. 10, sought to preserve and protect the stations from any demolition, destruction, or any actions that would cause damage to the tourist site.
“Actually, it started with the request of the parish sa Sangguniang Bayan, asking them to declare ‘yung Stations of the Cross as a local, cultural and historical treasure. Medyo kinakabahan, kasi tayo ‘yung mga road widening [at] ‘yung mga structure ginigiba na lang," said Msgr. Joey Ranjo, parish priest of Sta. Monica.
The resolution stated that the Stations, which is made of brick and lime and was constructed in the early 1800s, is considered iconic.
They were also considered historical structures by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines.
“We have to appeal that these local treasure must be preserved because this is our culture, this is our heritage in our municipality, “ said Councilor Mary Anne Damaso, sponsor of the resolution.
The municipal council requested the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to exempt the stations from projects that may affect the Sarrat icons' place in the town.
“We will endorse this to higher level of the DILG so that we will be guided kung ano ang kailangan gawin with this resolution," DILG Provincial Director Reggie Culisao said.
Aside from the Municipal Resolution, the Stations as a processional marker is also protected by Provincial Ordinance No. 039-2009 or the ordinance imposing the moratorium in the conversion of use and demolition of buildings, edifices, relics, establishments and other structures deemed as part of the cultural and historical heritage found and situated within the territorial jurisdiction in the province of Ilocos Norte.
Article 14, Section 14 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution read that "the State shall foster the preservation, enrichment, and dynamic evolution of a Filipino national culture based on the principle of unity in diversity in a climate of free artistic and intellectual expression.”
Ranjo said the local treasure is the only remaining complete Stations in Ilocos Norte.