Isko: Manila to ‘protect’ interests in Harrison Plaza, Rizal Memorial Sports Complex

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 08 2019 12:45 PM

Over the years, the cinemas and Rustan’s disappeared in the mall, with tiangge stalls and ukays moving in. Photo by Patricia Chong, ANCX

MANILA - The city government of Manila would continue to keep and “protect” its interests in 2 iconic establishments in the capital city that were earlier bidded out to private firms, Mayor Isko Moreno said Thursday.

Last year, SM Prime Holdings bagged a deal to transform the rundown Harrison Plaza - the Philippines’ first major mall that opened in 1976 - into a brand new commercial hub.

“It was contracted in the previous administration. We are looking into how we are going to protect the interest of the city government of Manila [since] we still have semblance of ownership in the area,” Moreno told reporters.

“We will study it further on how it is going to be economically viable for the city government of Manila,” he said.

On Wednesday evening, Moreno reaffirmed his commitment to retain the 80-year-old Rizal Memorial Sports Complex as a sports facility.

In 2016, businessman Enrique Razon planned to turn the stadium - which once hosted a Beatles concert and a baseball game featuring Babe Ruth - into a mall.

The plan was halted in 2017 after the National Commission for Culture and Arts, and the National Historical Commission of the Philippines declared the 10-hectare complex as a “heritage site.”

When the Philippines Sports Commission asked Moreno his position on the matter, the mayor said: “I will not [sell].”

“They will continue to redevelop it as long as it is being utilized as a sports facility for sports activities,” he said.

Manila needs to protect its cultural heritage, Moreno said in earlier interviews.

Other cities may be more progressive than Manila, but our historic landmarks is something others cannot have, he said.

“These are Manila’s real treasures,” he said.