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San Sebastian Church / The Rapid Nomad

Church opposes condo project

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The Manila Cathedral or the Minor Basilica of the Immaculate Conception is supporting the online campaign against the construction of a high-rise residential building behind the historic San Sebastian Church in Manila, according to a report by Philippine News Agency.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the basilica also urged the people to sign an online petition against the project, which could obstruct the view and affect the structural integrity of the cultural heritage site.

“The online petition for the #SaveSanSebastian campaign is live! Sign up now and stand with us at Change. Org: GOAL: 400,000 signatures in time for the 400th year anniversary of the very first San Sebastian church. Join us and our partners to raise awareness about San Sebastian and why it must be protected,” it said.

It added that the petition was started by a concerned member of the San Sebastian community.

"We collaborated with them to make this larger call for action. To save this Basilica, we need your support for the ongoing restoration and the newer movement opposing the condominium building scheduled for construction behind it,” the Manila Cathedral added.

On Jan. 7, the San Sebastian Basilica Conservation and Development Foundation, Inc., started the online campaign, to stop the erection of a 31-story condominium right behind the iconic and only all-steel church in the country.

“Our goal for this petition is to raise 400,000 signatures by this August 2021,” it said in a statement.

The number of target signatures also aims to symbolize the 400th year anniversary of the very first San Sebastian Church.

“The signatures from this general petition will be recorded to show the public there is a community of people who care about the basilica and the neighborhood,” it added.

At the same time, the group asked the public to help in raising awareness about San Sebastian Church and why it must be protected.

“We strongly believe in the power of a united community, and so beyond this petition, we invite everyone to connect with us and collaborate,” it said.

The church’s present structure, which dates back to 1981, is the only all-steel church in Asia and the only prefabricated steel church in the world.

The condominium project has been met with opposition by various cultural conservation groups but authorities have approved its construction last year.

As of Tuesday, or five days since the campaign was launched, the petition already has around 5,800 signatures. 

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